The relationships among the different eating disorders that exist in the community are poorly understood, especially for residual disorders in which bingeing or purging occurs in the absence of other behaviors.
To examine a community sample for the number of mutually exclusive weight and eating profiles.
Data regarding lifetime eating disorder symptoms and weight range were submitted to a latent profile analysis. Profiles were compared regarding personality, current eating and weight, retrospectively reported life events, and lifetime depressive psychopathology.
Longitudinal study among female twins from the Australian Twin Registry in whom eating was assessed by a telephone interview.
A community sample of 1002 twins (individuals) who had participated in earlier waves of data collection.
Main Outcome Measures
Number and clinical character of latent profiles.
The best fit was a 5-profile solution with women who were (1) of normal weight with few lifetime eating disorders (4.3%), (2) overweight (10.6% had a lifetime eating disorder), (3) underweight and generally had no eating disorders except for 5.3% who had restricting anorexia nervosa, (4) of low to normal weight (89.0% had a lifetime eating disorder), and (5) obese (37.0% had a lifetime eating disorder). Each profile contained more than 1 type of lifetime eating disorder except for the third profile. Women in the first and third profiles had the best functioning, with women in the fourth and fifth profiles having similarly poorer functioning. The women in the fourth group had a symptom profile distinctive from the other 4 groups in terms of severity; they were also more likely to have had lifetime major depression and suicidality.
Lifetime weight ranges and the severity of eating disorder symptoms affected clustering more than the type of eating disorder symptom.