Thin-Ideal Internalization Influenced by Genetic Factors

Significant genetic, non-shared environmental influences; shared environment has minimal effects

FRIDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Thin-ideal internalization is significantly influenced by genetic and non-shared environmental factors, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Jessica L. Suisman, from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and colleagues examined the role of genetic influences in the variance of thin-ideal internalization. Genetic effects were assessed using a twin design study, involving 343 post-pubertal female twins aged 12 to 22 years. The Sociocultural Attitudes toward Appearance Questionnaire-3 was used to assess thin-ideal internalization. They also examined whether the origin of environmental influences were shared or non-shared.

The researchers found that there was a suggestion of significant additive genetic and non-shared environmental influences on thin-ideal internalization. In contrast, shared environmental influences were found to be small and non-significant.

"Although prior research focused on psychosocial factors, genetic influences on thin-ideal internalization were significant and moderate in magnitude," the authors write. "Research is needed to investigate possible interplay between genetic and non-shared environmental factors in the development of thin-ideal internalization."

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