Psychological Medicine



Brief Communication

A preliminary population-based twin study of self-reported eating disorder


L. S. KORTEGAARD a1c1, K. HOERDER a1, J. JOERGENSEN a1, C. GILLBERG a1 and K. O. KYVIK a1
a1 Department of Child Psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense University, Odense, Denmark

Abstract

Background. Twin studies have concluded that there is a substantial genetic contribution to the aetiology of eating disorders. The aim of the present study was to estimate the genetic contribution to the aetiology of self-reported eating disorders in a sample of representative twins.

Method. A population cohort of 34142 young Danish twins was screened for eating disorders by a mailed questionnaire.

Results. Concordance rates differed significantly across monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs for broadly defined self-reported anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Heritability estimates of 0·48, 0·52 and 0·61 respectively were estimated for narrow and broad definitions of self-reported anorexia nervosa and for self-reported bulimia nervosa.

Conclusions. There is a genetic contribution to the aetiology of self-reported eating disorders in the general population. The relationship between self-reported and clinical eating disorder remains to be examined.


Correspondence:
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Lisbeth S. Kortegaard, Department of Child Psychiatry, Odense University Hospital, Sdr. Boulevard 29, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark.


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