Diagnostic Classification of Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: How Does DSM-IV-TR Compare to Empirically-Derived Categories?

Kamryn T. Eddy*, Daniel Le Grange, Ross D. Crosby, Renee Rienecke Hoste, Angela Celio Doyle, Angela Smyth, David B. Herzog

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to empirically derive eating disorder phenotypes in a clinical sample of children and adolescents using latent profile analysis (LPA), and to compare these latent profile (LP) groups to the DSM-IV-TR eating disorder categories. Method: Eating disorder symptom data collected from 401 youth (aged 7 through 19 years; mean 15.14 ± 2.35 years) seeking eating disorder treatment were included in LPA; general linear models were used to compare LP groups to DSM-IV-TR eating disorder categories on pretreatment and outcome indices. Results: Three LP groups were identified: LP1 (n = 144), characterized by binge eating and purging ("Binge/purge"); LP2 (n = 126), characterized by excessive exercise and extreme eating disorder cognitions ("Exercise-extreme cognitions"); and LP3 (n = 131), characterized by minimal eating disorder behaviors and cognitions ("Minimal behaviors/cognitions"). Identified LPs imperfectly resembled DSM-IV-TR eating disorders. LP1 resembled bulimia nervosa; LP2 and LP3 broadly resembled anorexia nervosa with a relaxed weight criterion, differentiated by excessive exercise and severity of eating disorder cognitions. The LP groups were more differentiated than the DSM-IV-TR categories across pretreatment eating disorder and general psychopathology indices, as well as weight change at follow-up. Neither LP nor DSM-IV-TR categories predicted change in binge/purge behaviors. Validation analyses suggest these empirically derived groups improve upon the current DSM-IV-TR categories. Conclusions: In children and adolescents, revisions for DSM-V should consider recognition of patients with minimal cognitive eating disorder symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-287
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Classification
  • Diagnosis
  • Eating disorders
  • Latent profile analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Diagnostic Classification of Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: How Does DSM-IV-TR Compare to Empirically-Derived Categories?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this