Diagnostic criteria for eating disorders influence how we recognize,
research, and treat eating disorders, and empirically valid phenotypes are
required for revealing their genetic bases.
To empirically define eating disorder phenotypes.
Data regarding eating disorder symptoms and features from 1179 individuals
with clinically significant eating disorders were submitted to a latent class
analysis. The resulting latent classes were compared on non–eating disorder
variables in a series of validation analyses.
Multinational, collaborative study with cases ascertained through diverse
clinical settings (inpatient, outpatient, and community).
Members of affected relative pairs recruited for participation in genetic
studies of eating disorders in which probands met DSM-IV-TR criteria for anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa and had at least
1 biological relative with a clinically significant eating disorder.
Main Outcome Measure
Number and clinical characterization of latent classes.
A 4-class solution provided the best fit. Latent class 1 (LC1) resembled
restricting AN; LC2, AN and bulimia nervosa with the use of multiple methods
of purging; LC3, restricting AN without obsessive-compulsive features; and
LC4, bulimia nervosa with self-induced vomiting as the sole form of purging.
Biological relatives were significantly likely to belong to the same latent
class. Across validation analyses, LC2 demonstrated the highest levels of
psychological disturbance, and LC3 demonstrated the lowest.
The presence of obsessive-compulsive features differentiates among individuals
with restricting AN. Similarly, the combination of low weight and multiple
methods of purging distinguishes among individuals with binge eating and purging
behaviors. These results support some of the distinctions drawn within the DSM-IV-TR among eating disorder
subtypes, while introducing new features to define phenotypes.