Specific and nonspecific comorbidity in anorexia nervosa

Int J Eat Disord. 2008 Jan;41(1):47-56. doi: 10.1002/eat.20463.


Objective: This article reports lifetime Axis I and II comorbidity in women with anorexia nervosa (AN), and ascertains specific and nonspecific comorbidity in AN compared to clinical samples of women with bulimia nervosa (BN) or major depression (DEP).

Method: Outpatient AN (n = 56), BN (n = 132), and DEP (n = 100) samples were assessed using Structured Clinical Interviews I and II for DSM-III-R. Baseline data were compared using univariate statistics and logistic regression.

Results: In the AN sample as a whole, specific elevations were found for prevalences of obsessive compulsive disorder. The AN-binge eating purging subtype (AN-BP) and the BN sample had elevated prevalences of Cluster B personality disorders. Cluster C prevalences were elevated across samples.

Conclusion: Evidence of AN-specific, eating disorder-specific, and nonspecific comorbidity illustrates the heterogeneity in AN. Further research is need to examine the relative impact of specific and nonspecific comorbidity in AN subtypes and AN as a whole.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index