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Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2017 Sep;25(5):381-388. doi: 10.1002/erv.2530. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Relationships Between Self-Reported and Observed Parenting Behaviour, Adolescent Disordered Eating Attitudes and Behaviours, and the 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism: Data From the Australian Temperament Project.

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Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.
School of Psychology and Public Health, Faculty of Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.
Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia.
Department of Paediatrics, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.


This study examined whether self-reported and observationally measured parental behaviours were associated with disordered eating, and investigated possible moderation by a serotonin-transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR). Study 1 included 650 adolescents from the Australian Temperament Project who completed the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 Drive for Thinness and Bulimia scales at 15/16 years and were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR. Parents completed an Australian Temperament Project-devised measure of parental warmth and harsh punishment. Study 2 included a subgroup of 304 participants who also engaged in a video-recorded family interaction, with observed parental warmth and hostility coded by the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scale. Greater self-reported parental warmth was associated with lower bulimia scores. Conversely, observationally measured parental warmth was associated with lower drive for thinness, but not bulimia. Self-reported parental harsh punishment was associated with bulimia only, with observed parental hostility associated with neither outcome. 5-HTTLPR genotype did not moderate the relationship between parent behaviours and adolescent disordered eating.


5-HTTLPR; disordered eating; gene environment interactions; observational measurement; parenting behaviours

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