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, 51 (4), 402-405

The 2 to 4 Digit Ratio (2D:4D) and Eating Disorder Diagnosis in Women

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The 2 to 4 Digit Ratio (2D:4D) and Eating Disorder Diagnosis in Women

Stephanie Jane Quinton et al. Pers Individ Dif.

Abstract

Eating disorders are more common in females than in males and are believed to be caused, in part, by biological and hormonal factors. Digit ratio or 2D:4D (the ratio of the 2(nd) to the 4(th) digit) is considered to be a proxy for prenatal testosterone (PT) and prenatal oestrogen (PE) exposure. However, how 2D:4D may be related to type of eating pathology is unknown. The relationship between 2D:4D and eating disorder diagnosis was investigated in recovered and currently eating disordered (n=31) and control (n=99) women. Mean 2D:4D ratio was significantly lower (indicating higher levels of PT and lower levels of PE) in anorexic (AN) compared to bulimic (BN) women, with controls intermediary. In eating disordered women, 2D:4D was positively and significantly related to current weight, lowest weight and current BMI, with strongest associations for right 2D:4D. Among women, low 2D:4D is related to AN and high 2D:4D to BN, suggesting a differential causal influence of prenatal sex hormones on later eating pathology.

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