Twin Studies of Eating Disorders: A Review

  • Bulik C
  • Sullivan P
  • Wade T
 et al. 
  • 12


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • N/A


    Citations of this article.


Objective: Twin methodology has been used to delineate etiological factors in many medical disorders and behavioral traits including eating disorders. Although twin studies are powerful tools, their methodology can be arcane and their implications easily misinterpreted. Method: The goals of this study are to (a) review the theoretical rationale for twin studies; (b) provide a framework for their interpretation and evaluation; (c) review extant twin studies on eating disorders; and (d) explore the implications for understanding etiologi-cal issues in eating disorders. Discussion: On the basis of this review, it is not possible to draw firm conclusions regarding the precise contribution of genetic and environmental factors to anorexia nervosa. Twin studies confirm that bulimia nervosa is familial and reveal significant contributions of additive genetic effects and of unique environmental factors in liability to bulimia nervosa. The magnitude of the contribution of shared environment is less clear, but in the studies with the greatest statistical power, it appears to be less prominent than additive genetic factors.

Author-supplied keywords

  • eating disorders
  • genetic and environmental factors
  • twin studies

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in


  • Cynthia M Bulik

  • Patrick F Sullivan

  • Tracey D Wade

  • Kenneth S Kendler

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free