Thought-shape fusion in eating disorders
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2004 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 43, Issue 4, pages 399–408, November 2004
How to Cite
Shafran, R. and Robinson, P. (2004), Thought-shape fusion in eating disorders. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43: 399–408. doi: 10.1348/0144665042389008
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 12 September 2002; revised version received 19 May 2003
- Cited By
Objectives: The aims of the present study were (1) to examine the association between a cognitive distortion (‘thought-shape fusion’) and eating disorder psychopathology and (2) to examine the degree of thought-shape fusion in people with eating disorders and a non-eating-disorder control group.
Design: Associations between thought-shape fusion and eating disorder psychopathology were examined and the degree of thought-shape fusion was compared between people with and without clinical eating disorders.
Method: Forty-two women with clinical eating disorders and a group of 42 age-matched women with no self-reported history of an eating disorder completed self-report questionnaires to assess thought-shape fusion, eating disorder symptoms, body checking and body avoidance, and depression.
Results: Thought-shape fusion was significantly associated with eating disorder psychopathology. The majority of the associations remained significant when controlling for levels of depression. Patients with eating disorders showed significantly more thought-shape fusion than the non-clinical controls.
Conclusions: Thought-shape fusion is a cognitive distortion associated with eating disorders. It may be a direct expression of the overevaluation of eating, shape and weight. It is recommended that thought-shape fusion be tackled directly in cases where it is a barrier to changing the core psychopathology of eating disorders.