Prevalence of eating disorders and comorbid psychopathology in a US sample of treatment-seeking veterans

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International journal of eating disorders


Objective Eating disorders (EDs) are a well-studied public health issue in the general population. Less is known, however, about the prevalence of such conditions and levels of comorbid psychopathology among military and veteran populations. The current study sought to describe the probable prevalence of EDs and levels of comorbid psychopathology using a racially diverse treatment-seeking sample of US veteran men and women. Method Veterans (N =254) presenting for routine clinical care completed self-report questionnaires assessing EDs, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and shame. Results Thirty-one percent of the sample met probable criteria for either bulimia nervosa (BN), binge-eating disorder, or purging disorder. Although overall ED prevalence estimates were similar across men and women, estimates of BN were higher among Black veterans compared to White veterans or veterans who identified as a race other than Black or White. Further, mean levels of psychopathology were significantly higher in veterans with a probable ED compared to those without. Discussion This study extends previous research and highlights the importance of establishing dedicated ED screening programs within the Veterans Health Administration.

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