Article

Mirror exposure in women with bulimic symptoms: How do thoughts and emotions change in body image treatment?

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Engelbergerstrasse 41, 79106 Freiburg, Germany. Electronic address: .
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 09/2012; 51(1):1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.03.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mirror exposure is an efficient treatment for body image problems in eating disorders. Although habituation processes and cognitive changes are postulated to be underlying mechanisms, evidence is scarce, especially during repeated mirror exposure treatment. Fourteen participants with eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) and five with bulimia nervosa (BN) composed the bulimic group (BG), and 19 healthy women without any mental disorder composed the healthy controls group (HC). The participants were treated by four standardized mirror exposure sessions. Subjective distress was assessed five times during each session. Both negative and positive emotions and negative thoughts were assessed after each session. The patients in the BG reported significantly higher levels of negative emotions and cognitions than did those in the HC in all measures and across all sessions. In both groups, subjective distress increased significantly within each session and decreased toward the end of each session. Only in the subjects of the BG group did both distress and negative thoughts and emotions decrease significantly from session to session, whereas positive emotions increased. The patterns of change differed between the BG and the HC, suggesting that habituation between sessions occurred only in the BG. Our findings suggest that the additional underlying cognitive-affective processes merit further investigation.

0 Followers
 · 
139 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Weight and shape concerns are widespread in the general population. Mirror exposure has been used to reduce body dissatisfaction but little is known about the mechanisms which underlie this therapeutic technique. The present study examined emotional, cognitive, and psychophysiological responses, in women with high and low levels of body dissatisfaction, exposed to their own bodies in a mirror. Forty-two university-attending women (21 high body-dissatisfied (HBD) and 21 low body-dissatisfied (LBD)), were confronted with their own body during four 5-min trials in which participants were instructed to focus their attention on different parts of their body under standardized conditions. Emotional and cognitive measures were taken after each exposure trial. Heart rate (HR) and skin conductance (SC) were recorded continuously. HBD women experienced more negative emotions and cognitions following body exposure compared to LBD women but, conversely, showed a reduced physiological reaction in terms of HR and SC. In both groups greater physiological responses were observed looking at the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. Extent of negative emotions and cognitions were positively associated with HR and/or SC in LBD women but no associations were observed in HBD women. The dissociation between self-report and psychophysiological measures in HBD women supports the existence of a passive-behavioral inhibited coping style in HBD women and suggests deficiencies in the generation of physiological correlates of emotion related to body dissatisfaction.
    PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0122737. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0122737 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Alterations in the resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) of several brain networks have been demonstrated in eating disorders. However, very few studies are currently available on brain network dysfunctions in bulimia nervosa (BN). The somatosensory network is central in processing body-related stimuli and it may be altered in BN. The present study therefore aimed to investigate rs-FC in the somatosensory network in bulimic women.Methods: Sixteen medication-free women with BN (age = 23 ± 5 years) and 18 matched controls (age = 23 ± 3 years) underwent a functional magnetic resonance resting-state scan and assessment of eating disorder symptoms. Within-network and seed-based functional connectivity analyses were conducted to assess rs-FC within the somatosensory network and to other areas of the brain.Results: Bulimia nervosa patients showed a decreased rs-FC both within the somatosensory network (t = 9.0, df = 1, P = 0.005) and with posterior cingulate cortex and two visual areas (the right middle occipital gyrus and the right cuneus) (P = 0.05 corrected for multiple comparison). The rs-FC of the left paracentral lobule with the right middle occipital gyrus correlated with psychopathology measures like bulimia (r = −0.4; P = 0.02) and interoceptive awareness (r = −0.4; P = 0.01). Analyses were conducted using age, BMI (body mass index), and depressive symptoms as covariates.Conclusion: Our findings show a specific alteration of the rs-FC of the somatosensory cortex in BN patients, which correlates with eating disorder symptoms. The region in the right middle occipital gyrus is implicated in body processing and is known as extrastriate body area (EBA). The connectivity between the somatosensory cortex and the EBA might be related to dysfunctions in body image processing. The results should be considered preliminary due to the small sample size.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:270. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00270 · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Body dissatisfaction is the most relevant body image disturbance in bulimia nervosa (BN). Research has shown that viewing one's own body evokes negative thoughts and emotions in individuals with BN. However, the psychophysiological mechanisms involved in this negative reaction have not yet been clearly established. Our aim was to examine the emotional and attentional processes that are activated when patients with BN view their own bodies. Method We examined the effects of viewing a video of one's own body on the physiological (eye-blink startle, cardiac defense, and skin conductance) and subjective (pleasure, arousal, and control ratings) responses elicited by a burst of 110 dB white noise of 500 ms duration. The participants were 30 women with BN and 30 healthy control women. The experimental task consisted of two consecutive and counterbalanced presentations of the auditory stimulus preceded, alternatively, by a video of the participant's own body versus no such video. Results The results showed that, when viewing their own bodies, women with BN experienced (a) greater inhibition of the startle reflex, (b) greater cardiac acceleration in the first component of the defense reaction, (c) greater skin conductance response, and (d) less subjective pleasure and control combined with greater arousal, compared with the control participants. Conclusion Our findings suggest that, for women with BN, peripheral-physiological responses to self-images are dominated by attentional processes, which provoke an immobility reaction caused by a dysfunctional negative response to their own body.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102595. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0102595 · 3.53 Impact Factor