Structure of disordered eating in a twin community sample

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To describe the types of eating problems experienced by women in an Australian twin population. Method: Questions assessing preoccupation with weight or shape, use of various methods of weight control, difficulties with weight control, disordered eating, or binging, were administered to a group of 3,869 female twins. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to summarize and describe problematic eating behaviors. Results: For those women experiencing problems with eating, five groups could be identified. These were overweight women who were dissatisfied with their weight and shape, underweight women struggling with anorexic behaviors, women who were having problems with binging, women who were using more extreme methods of weight control such as vomiting, laxatives, and starvation, and overweight women who were using slimming and fluid tablets for weight control. Confirmatory factor analysis suggested that this factor model is an acceptable fit to the data and that the factor structure generalizes well across two groups viz, the first-born and second-born twins. Discussion: It was concluded that future studies aiming to develop a general description of eating problems in the community should specifically assess the purging behaviors used by women.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-71
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 1996


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