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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Nov;42(11):2214-2223. doi: 10.1111/acer.13868. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Associations Between Alcohol Involvement and Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction in Adolescent Twins: A Bivariate Twin Study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
2
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.
3
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Department of Medical Science, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
5
Department of Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alcohol involvement has familial associations with bulimic symptoms (i.e., binge eating, inappropriate compensatory behaviors), with several studies indicating a genetic overlap between the two. It is unclear whether overlapping familial risk with alcohol involvement extends to other eating disorder symptoms. Understanding the genetic overlap between alcohol involvement and other eating disorder symptoms may aid in more targeted interventions for comorbid alcohol use-eating disorder symptoms. Thus, we investigated associations between alcohol involvement and 2 core eating disorder symptoms: drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction in adolescent female and male twins.

METHODS:

We assessed 3 levels of alcohol involvement: alcohol use in the last month, having ever been intoxicated, and alcohol intoxication frequency via self-report. The Eating Disorder Inventory-II assessed drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction. Sex-specific biometrical twin modeling examined the genetic overlap between alcohol involvement and eating disorder symptoms.

RESULTS:

Phenotypic associations between alcohol involvement, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction were significantly greater in girls compared with boys. A majority of the associations between alcohol involvement, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction in girls, but not boys, met our threshold for twin modeling (phenotypic r > 0.20). Moderate genetic correlations were observed between the 3 aspects of alcohol involvement and drive for thinness. Moderate genetic correlations were observed between alcohol use and intoxication frequency and body dissatisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Together with the literature on alcohol involvement and bulimic symptoms, these findings suggest a generalized association between alcohol involvement and eating disorder symptoms in girls, whereas this association may be symptom specific in boys. Genetic correlations indicate that the amount and direction of this genetic overlap differs across specific symptoms. When intervening on comorbid alcohol involvement and eating disorder symptoms, it may be important to target-specific eating disorder symptoms.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol Use; Comorbidity; Disordered Eating; Eating Disorder; Twin Study

PMID:
30252141
PMCID:
PMC6214724
DOI:
10.1111/acer.13868
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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