Symptoms predicting psychosocial impairment in bulimia nervosa

  • Paul E. JenkinsEmail author
  • Jessica Staniford
  • Amy Luck
Original Article



The current study aimed to determine which particular eating disorder (ED) symptoms and related features, such as BMI and psychological distress, uniquely predict impairment in bulimia nervosa (BN).


Two hundred and twenty-two adults with BN completed questionnaires assessing ED symptoms, general psychological distress, and psychosocial impairment. Regression analyses were used to determine predictors which account for variance in impairment.


Four variables emerged as significant predictors of psychosocial impairment: concerns with eating; concerns with weight and shape; dietary restraint; and general psychological distress.


Findings support previous work highlighting the importance of weight and shape concerns in determining ED-related impairment. Other ED symptoms, notably dietary restraint and concerns with eating, were also significant predictors as was psychological distress. Results suggest that cognitive aspects of EDs, in addition to psychological distress, may be more important determinants of impairment than behavioural symptoms, such as binge eating or purging.


Impairment Bulimia nervosa Predictors Weight and shape concerns 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Relevant ethical standards were considered in the conduct of this research, which was approved by the local NHS Trust Research and Development, who noted that further review was not required.

Informed consent

Informed consent was not sought as this study considered collation of retrospective, routinely-collected data.


This study received no external funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. Jenkins
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jessica Staniford
    • 1
    • 3
  • Amy Luck
    • 3
  1. 1.Cotswold House Eating Disorders Service, Oxford Health NHS Foundation TrustOxfordUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK
  3. 3.Buckinghamshire Community Eating Disorders Service, Oxford Health NHS Foundation TrustAylesburyUK

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