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Genetic and environmental influences on disordered eating and depressive symptoms

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Abstract

Objective:

Research suggests that shared genetic factors underlie relationships between eating disorder and depression diagnoses, but no studies to date have examined these associations using dimensional symptom measures. This study examined whether genetic associations observed between eating disorder and depression diagnoses extend to continuous measures of these phenotypes.

Method:

The sample consisted of 292 young adult female twins from the Michigan State University Twin Registry. Disordered eating was measured using the Minnesota Eating Behavior Survey. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory.

Results:

Univariate twin models indicated that genetic factors accounted for 55% to 60% of the variance in disordered eating and depressive symptoms, with the remaining variance accounted for by nonshared environmental effects. Bivariate models indicated that genetic factors primarily accounted for associations between disordered eating and depressive symptoms (ra = .70).

Discussion:

Phenotypic associations between disordered eating and depressive symptoms appear to be due to common genetic factors. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2010)

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