Review of Attentional Bias Modification: A Brain-directed Treatment for Eating Disorders

Beth Renwick*, Iain C. Campbell, Ulrike Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

ObjectivePsychological treatments for eating disorders (ED) rely on mastery of effortful attentional control to divert attention from anxiety provoking thoughts. This paper assesses the potential suitability of attentional bias modification treatment (ABMT) for EDs as a way to target early automatic attentional processes and implicitly retune threat perception that happens outside of conscious control.

MethodWe review data on anxiety in EDs, the neurobiological and behavioural relationship between anxiety disorders and EDs, attentional biases (AB) in EDs and the use of ABMT.

ResultsCo-morbidities between EDs and anxiety disorders are common and negatively affect illness outcome. EDs and anxiety disorders share many underlying elements, including AB towards threatening and disorder-relevant stimuli. AB has been modified across a range of anxiety disorders using ABMT. It is possible to modify AB in EDs.

ConclusionThere is evidence to suggest that ABMT has potential as a targeted, rapid and convenient treatment option for EDs. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)464-474
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • eating disorder
  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa
  • attentional bias
  • anxiety
  • SEROTONIN TRANSPORTER GENE
  • GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • WEIGHT-RELATED INFORMATION
  • ANOREXIA-NERVOSA
  • BODY DISSATISFACTION
  • SELECTIVE ATTENTION
  • PROCESSING BIASES
  • COMPARISON WOMEN
  • BULIMIA-NERVOSA
  • Acknowledged-BRC
  • Acknowledged-BRC-13/14

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