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The association between emotional eating and depressive symptoms: a population-based twin study in Sri Lanka

  • Moritz P. Herle (a1), Carol Kan (a2), Kaushalya Jayaweera (a3), Anushka Adikari (a3), Sisira Siribaddana (a4), Helena M.S. Zavos (a5), Milana Smolkina (a6), Athula Sumathipala (a3) (a7), Clare Llewellyn (a8), Khalida Ismail (a9), Matthew Hotopf (a9) (a10), Janet Treasure (a2) and Frühling Rijsdijk (a5)...

Abstract

This study investigated the genetic and environmental contributions to emotional overeating (EOE) and depressive symptoms, and their covariation, in a Sri-Lankan population, using genetic model-fitting analysis. In total, 3957 twins and singletons in the Colombo Twin and Singleton Study-Phase 2 rated their EOE behaviour and depressive symptoms, which were significantly associated (men: r = 0.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06–0.16, women: r = 0.12, 95% CI 0.07–0.16). Non-shared environmental factors explained the majority of variance in men (EOE e2 = 87%, 95% CI 78–95%; depressive symptoms e2 = 72%, 95% CI 61–83%) and women (EOE e2 = 76%, 95% CI 68–83%; depressive symptoms e2 = 64%, 95% CI 55–74%). Genetic factors were more important for EOE in women (h2 = 21%, 95% CI 4–32%) than men (h2 = 9%, 95% CI 0–20%). Shared-environmental factors were more important for depressive symptoms in men (c2 = 25%, 95% CI 10–36%) than women (c2 = 9%, 95% CI 0–35%). Non-shared environmental factors explained the overlap between depressive symptoms and EOE in women but not in men. Results differed from high-income populations, highlighting the need for behavioural genetic research in global populations.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Moritz Herle, E-mail: moritz.herle.12@ucl.ac.uk

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References

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