Bulimia nervosa: Definition, diagnostic criteria, and associated psychological problems

Lillie Weiss, Melanie Katzman, Sharlene Wolchik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews some of the characteristics of bulimics and descriptions of the epidemiology, topography, personality and behavioral characteristics, physiological consequences, and provides theories of bulimia nervosa. In view of the inconsistency in definitions of bulimia nervosa, integration and comparison of the research findings on this disorder must be made with these methodological limitations in mind. The practical considerations and stresses in dealing day by day with bulimia are overwhelming and can only be deduced from the research findings. Biological, psychological, and social factors have been hypothesized to play a role in the development of bulimia nervosa. Dynamic conceptualizations of anorexia and bulimia often cited disturbances in the early mother-child relationship as predisposing the child to developing eating disorders in adolescence. In 1987, the diagnostic criteria for bulimia were further operationalized and the name of the disorder changed to bulimia nervosa to highlight the relation with anorexia nervosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Eating Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationAnorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Obesity
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781317822684
ISBN (Print)9781560322955
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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