Attitudinal and perceptual factors in body image distortion: an exploratory study in patients with anorexia nervosa

Amanda Waldman, Rachel Loomes, Victoria A Mountford, Kate Tchanturia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Body image disturbance is a core feature of anorexia nervosa (AN). Attitudinal and cognitive biases as well as fundamental perceptual differences have been hypothesized to play a role in this disturbance.

Method
This study investigated body image dissatisfaction and distortion, haptic perception and perfectionism in 30 patients with AN and 31 age-matched healthy controls. Participants completed perceptual tasks and self-report measures.

Results
As predicted, participants with AN scored significantly higher on body dissatisfaction, perfectionism measures and had greater body distortion (as assessed by a body size estimation task). Cognitive–affective factors and perfectionism were highly correlated with body image distortion in AN. No significant differences were found between groups on the generic perception task.

Conclusions
Findings did not confirm the hypothesis of fundamental perceptual inefficiencies in body image disturbance in individuals with AN. Despite renewed interest in fundamental perceptual factors implicated in body image disturbance, these findings suggest that it continues to be important to focus treatment on cognitive affective biases versus fundamental perceptual inefficiencies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2013

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