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Int J Eat Disord. 2001 Apr;29(3):263-9.

Males with anorexia nervosa: a controlled study of eating disorders in first-degree relatives.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, University of California at Los Angeles, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759, USA.



To compare lifetime rates of full and partial anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in first-degree relatives of males with anorexia nervosa and in relatives of never-ill comparison subjects.


Rates of eating disorders were obtained for 747 relatives of 210 probands from personal structured clinical interviews and family history. Best-estimate diagnoses were determined blind to proband diagnosis and pedigree status.


Full and partial syndromes of anorexia nervosa aggregated in female relatives of ill probands. For the full syndrome of anorexia nervosa, the crude relative risk was 20.3 among female relatives and for partial syndrome anorexia nervosa, the crude relative risk was 3.3. In contrast, bulimia nervosa was relatively uncommon among relatives of ill probands.


Although anorexia nervosa in males is exceedingly rare, there is a pattern of familial aggregation that is highly similar to that observed in recent family studies of affected females. On the basis of these findings, there is no evidence that familial-genetic factors distinguish the occurrence of anorexia nervosa in the two sexes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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