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Keywords:

  • attentional bias;
  • eating disorders;
  • dot probe task

Abstract

Objective:

To examine the relationship between eating disorders and attentional biases.

Method:

The first study comprised 23 female patients with clinical eating disorders, women with high levels ofanxiety (n = 19), and three female normal control groups comprising low (n = 31), moderate (n = 21), or high levels of shape concern (n = 23). The second study comprised 82 women with clinical eating disorders and 44 healthy controls. All participants completed measures of eating disorder psychopathology and completed a modified pictorial dot-probe task.

Results:

In the first study, biases were found for negative eating and neutral weight pictures, and for positive eating pictures in women with eating disorders; these biases were greater than those found in anxious and normal controls. The second study replicated these findings and biases were also found for negative and neutral shape stimuli.

Conclusion:

It is concluded that future research should establish whether such biases warrant specific therapeutic interventions. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2007