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Psychol Bull. 2003 Sep;129(5):747-69.

Are eating disorders culture-bound syndromes? Implications for conceptualizing their etiology.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, USA. pamela-keel@uiowa.edu

Abstract

The authors explore the extent to which eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), represent culture-bound syndromes and discuss implications for conceptualizing the role genes play in their etiology. The examination is divided into 3 sections: a quantitative meta-analysis of changes in incidence rates since the formal recognition of AN and BN, a qualitative summary of historical evidence of eating disorders before their formal recognition, and an evaluation of the presence of these disorders in non-Western cultures. Findings suggest that BN is a culture-bound syndrome and AN is not. Thus, heritability estimates for BN may show greater variability cross-culturally than heritability estimates for AN, and the genetic bases of these disorders may be associated with differential pathoplasticity.

PMID:
12956542
DOI:
10.1037/0033-2909.129.5.747
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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