Bulimia nervosa symptoms in the multimodal treatment study of children with ADHD

Int J Eat Disord. 2010 Apr;43(3):248-59. doi: 10.1002/eat.20692.


Objective: We investigated body image dissatisfaction and bingeing/purging characteristics of bulimia nervosa (BN) in the ongoing prospective follow-up of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Method: Participants were 337 boys and 95 girls with ADHD and 211 boys and 53 girls forming a local normative comparison group (LNCG), reassessed in midadolescence (mean age, 16.4), 8 years after original recruitment.

Results: Youth with childhood ADHD showed more BN symptoms in midadolescence than did LNCG youth, and girls demonstrated more BN symptoms than did boys, with effect sizes between small and medium. Childhood impulsivity, as opposed to hyperactivity or inattention, best predicted adolescent BN symptoms, particularly for girls. Among youth with ADHD, treatment received during the follow-up period was not associated with BN pathology.

Discussion: Both boys and girls with ADHD may be at risk for BN symptoms in adolescence because of the impulsivity central to both disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Body Image
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology
  • Bulimia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Community Mental Health Services*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnosis
  • Impulsive Behavior / epidemiology
  • Impulsive Behavior / therapy
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sex Factors


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants