Do weight and shape concerns exhibit genetic effects? Investigating discrepant findings


  • Parts of this manuscript have been presented at the Eating Disorders Research Society Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 2007.



Unlike twin studies of general weight and shape concerns, studies examining the heritability of the undue influence of weight and shape concerns on self-evaluation have found little evidence for genetic effects. The present study sought to resolve these discrepancies by examining the heritability of both types of weight and shape concerns in a young adult twin sample.


Participants included 270 female twins from the Michigan State University Twin Registry. General weight and shape concerns were assessed with subscales from the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDEQ). Similar to previous research, the undue influence of weight and shape on self-evaluation was assessed using averaged scores from two EDEQ items.


The heritability of all weight and shape measures was estimated at 49–66%.


General weight and shape concerns and the undue influence of these concerns on self-evaluation are influenced by genetic factors in young adult female twins. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010