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Keywords:

  • cognitive therapy;
  • attentional bias;
  • eating disorders;
  • dot probe

Abstract

Objective:

The aims of these studies were (a) to investigate the relationship between attentional bias and eating disorders and (b) examine the impact of psychological treatment on attentional bias.

Method:

The first study compared performance on a pictorial dot probe of 82 female patients with clinical eating disorders and 44 healthy female controls. The second study compared the performance of 31 patients with eating disorder on the same task before and after receiving 20 weeks of standardized cognitive behavior therapy. Twenty-four patients with eating disorder served as wait-list controls

Results:

With the exception of neutral shape stimuli, attentional biases for eating, shape, and weight stimuli were greater in the patient sample than the healthy controls. The second study found that attentional biases significantly reduced after active treatment only.

Conclusion:

Attentional biases may be an expression of the eating disorder. The question of whether such biases warrant specific intervention requires further investigation. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008