Cognitive-Behavioral Theories of Eating Disorders

Louisiana State University, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Behavior Modification (Impact Factor: 1.7). 12/2004; 28(6):711-38. DOI: 10.1177/0145445503259853
Source: PubMed


This article presents an integrated cognitive-behavioral theory of eating disorders that is based on hypotheses developed over the past 30 years. The theory is evaluated using a selected review of the eating disorder literature pertaining to cognitive biases, negative emotional reactions, binge eating, compensatory behaviors, and risk factors for eating disorders. In general, hypotheses derived from cognitive-behavioral theories have been supported by a variety of research studies. The implications of these findings for treatment and prevention of eating disorders are discussed. This review of the literature serves as a conceptual base for some of the other articles that are included in this special issue of Behavior Modification. The article concludes with an introduction to six articles that discuss issues related to psychiatric classification, assessment, treatment, and prevention of eating disorders.

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    • "Teasdale's (1985) theory postulates that depressed mood leads to biases in information processing, which in turn contributes to the maintenance of depressive symptoms. This study also draws upon cognitive and information processing theories of eating disorders (for a review see Williamson et al. 2004) where these models suggest information processing errors (such as cognitive biases) contribute to the maintenance or disordered eating and disordered eating behaviours. Therefore, in addition to hypothesising that disordered eating and disordered eating behaviours, and difficulties in emotion regulation are significantly and positively related to memory biases and negatively related to interpretation biases, it was also hypothesised that memory biases and interpretation biases mediate the relationship between disordered eating, disordered eating behaviours and difficulties in emotion regulation . "
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    ABSTRACT: Disordered eating and difficulties with emotion regulation have shown strong associations but there has been little attention paid to possible mediators that would explain this relationship. In depression and anxiety, negative memory and interpretation biases are implicated in the onset and maintenance of these disorders, however, little is known about whether these biases also exist in eating disorders, and if they are related to difficulties with emotion regulation. Females (n = 181) aged 17 to 26 years, completed self-report measures of disordered eating and behaviours, difficulties in emotion regulation, depression, anxiety, and memory and interpretation bias. While negative memory bias was related to objective binge episodes, it was not related to difficulties in emotion regulation. Negative interpretation biases were associated with higher levels of eating psychopathology and objective binge eating when controlling for depression and anxiety. Cross-sectional testing showed this bias to mediate the relationship between both measures of disordered eating and difficulties with emotion regulation. Findings support further research into the effectiveness of cognitive bias modification techniques with respect to disordered eating and the reduction of emotion regulation difficulties.
    Cognitive Therapy and Research 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10608-015-9709-1 · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    • "In future extensions, this hypothesis can be tested by assessing whether HSD men rate short stature words more negatively and evaluating whether the strength of such appraisals corresponds to increased avoidance. Enhanced selective recall of short stature words among HSD men in Study 2 was in line with predictions of cognitive-behavior accounts indicating information consistent with sources of body image concern is more likely to be encoded and extracted from memory than other types of information (Williamson et al., 2004). While such biases have been linked previously to weight dissatisfaction , this study highlights how selective memory biases extend to one source of appearance concern reflecting deviations from the masculine appearance ideals. "
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    ABSTRACT: This research evaluated information-processing biases related to height dissatisfaction among young Chinese men. In Study 1, 32 highly stature dissatisfied (HSD) men and 36 less stature dissatisfied (LSD) men performed a dot probe task featuring height-related words and neutral words. HSD men were significantly slower than LSD men were in responding to probes that followed short stature words, but the groups did not differ in response speeds to probes that followed tall stature or neutral words. In Study 2, 33 HSD men and 34 LSD men completed an implicit learning task followed by a word recognition task. HSD men recognized significantly more short stature words from the initial task, but recognition accuracy for other word types did not differ between groups. Together, these findings suggest that HSD men are more inclined than LSD men to selectively avoid cues that reflect shortness in stature and to selectively recognize such cues later.
    Body Image 09/2014; 11(4):562-569. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.08.011 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    • "In effect, these perceptions of interpersonal experiences form the " looking glass " through which individuals evaluate their body (Cash & Fleming, 2002; Tantleff-Dunn & Lindner, 2011). Distortions in cognitive processing can powerfully influence body image, as well, by reinforcing and maintaining existing negative body evaluation (Williamson et al., 2004). The covariation bias evidenced in the present study integrates the influence of distortions in cognitive processing and interpersonal experiences: it is possible that the tendency to perceive an association between the own body and negative social feedback when in fact there is none (read: covariation bias) has serious consequences for body image, both by " tainting " the looking glass through which women evaluate their body, and by confirming women's existing negative body evaluation. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study investigated whether negative body evaluation predicts women's overestimation of negative social feedback related to their own body (i.e., covariation bias). Sixty-five female university students completed a computer task where photos of their own body, of a control woman's body, and of a neutral object, were followed by nonverbal social feedback (i.e., facial crowds with equal numbers of negative, positive, and neutral faces). Afterward, women estimated the percentage of negative, positive, and neutral social feedback that followed their own body, the control woman's body, and the neutral object. The findings provided evidence for a covariation bias: negative body evaluation predicted higher estimates of negative social feedback for women's own body, but not for the other stimuli. Additionally, the covariation bias was not explained by differences in how women interpreted the social feedback (the facial stimuli). Clinical implications of the covariation bias to body image are discussed.
    Body Image 06/2014; 11(3):228–232. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.03.001 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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