Genetic and environmental risk factors shared between disordered eating, psychological and family variables

Tracey Wade, Nicholas G. Martin, Marika Tiggemann, Suzanne Abraham, Susan A. Treloar, Andrew C. Heath

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    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this paper is to examine the sources and structure of covariation between disordered eating, neuroticism, parental care and protection, self-esteem and emotional reliance on other people. The eating, personality and family functioning measures, obtained from 537 MZ and 344 DZ female twin pairs aged 30-45 years, were examined using multivariate biometrical genetic modeling techniques. The best-fitting independent pathway model suggested that the measure of disordered eating shared unique environmental risk factors with neuroticism and perceptions of parental care. Neuroticism, self-esteem and emotional reliance on others shared genetic risk factors. The specific sources of individual variation for the six variables included a mixture of: (a) genetic, common and unique environment (disordered eating and the parental perception variables), (b) genetic and unique environment (neuroticism) and (c) unique environment only (self-esteem and emotional reliance on others). Disordered eating did not share genetic risk factors with any of the measured variables. The implications of these findings for our understanding of disordered eating are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)729-740
    Number of pages12
    JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2000


    • Behaviour genetics
    • Eating disorders
    • Risk factors
    • Twins


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