Familial resemblance in eating pathology is typically attributed to parents providing an environment that leads to the development of eating pathology. However, offspring raised by biological parents receive both their environment and genes from their parents, raising the possibility that genetic influences, environmental influences, and/or gene- environment interplay may account for familial resemblance. Past studies have not explored the possibility of parents' genes influencing the environment they provide (i.e., passive gene- environment correlations or "passive rGE"). If present, passive rGE is most likely to "hide" in estimates of shared environmental influence in classical twin models. The current study used a nuclear twin family design to explore the possibility of passive rGE during pre- and early puberty when past studies have demonstrated the importance of shared environmental influence. Additionally, the present study explored whether sibling-specific (i.e., influences specific to the twin generation) or family-specific (i.e., "cultural" influences within the home) environmental influences account for shared environmental influences found in past studies. Participants included preearly pubertal same-sex female twins and their biological parents (N = 547 families) from the Minnesota Twin Family Study and the Michigan State University Twin Registry. Disordered eating was assessed with self-report measures in the twins and parents. Pubertal status was determined using an established cut-off on a self-report measure. Passive rGE was not indicated in this study of pre- and early pubertal twins. Instead, sibling-specific shared environmental and nonshared environmental influences were most influential. Future research should work to identify the sibling-specific environmental influences that contribute to sibling similarity in disordered eating.
- Disordered eating
- Gene- environment correlation
- Parental influence