Faculty Publications


Prevalence of bulimic behaviors and bulimia among a sample of the general population.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Frank A. Biafora

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 1993

Date Available

September 2014




Data are presented on the prevalence of bulimic symptoms and bulimia among a sample of adults residing in north-central Florida (n = 2,075). The data were gathered between 1984 and 1986. The sample included 1,736 whites and 339 blacks, of whom 1040 were females and 1,035 were males. A current diagnosis of bulimia was made using the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Third Edition (DSM-III), of the American Psychiatric Association. Females had significantly higher rates than did males on nine of the 10 bulimic symptoms. Blacks had symptom rates equal to or greater than whites on eight of the 10 items, and those in the lowest socioeconomic groups (SES) had rates greater than those in the highest SES group on nine of the 10 symptoms. Eight persons, 0.4% of the total sample, met the DSM-III criteria for a diagnosis of bulimia. These included six white females and two black males. Five of the females were aged 18-29 years; one was over 45. Five of the females were in the lower middle SES group; one was in the upper middle SES group. Both of the black males were aged 30-44, and both were in the lowest SES group. The data emphasize the need to distinguish between bulimic type symptoms and bulimia when estimating the prevalence of eating-related problems in the general population.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in American Journal of Epidemiology 137(5), 569-576.




Oxford University Press

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