Secret patterns: Validation of a screening tool to detect bulimia

Karen M. Freund, Renee D. Boss, Elizabeth K. Handleman, Alma Dell Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We prospectively validated a two-item screening tool for bulimia. Subjects recruited from a women's health practice completed the previously developed two-item screening tool ('Do you ever eat in secret?' and 'Are you satisfied with your eating patterns?') at their initial office visit. This was validated against a telephone interview with a licensed psychologist. The prevalence of current bulimia was 16% in 75 subjects, determined by psychologists' assessment (sensitivity 75%, specificity 49%) and 4% by DSM-III-R criteria. The positive and negative predictive values of one screening question positive were 22% and 91%, respectively, when compared with the psychologists' assessments as the gold standard. This screening tool allows physicians to identify patients who warrant further valuation for bulimia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1284
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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