Body image in anorexia nervosa patients and recovered anorexia nervosa patients

About this study

This study explores the relationship between touch perception and body image in anorexia nervosa (AN). AN is characterized by body image disturbance (BID), which is considered a crucial feature of the disorder, associated with both the maintenance and development of AN, and shown to be a predictor for relapse. While researchers have historically focused more closely on the attitudinal component of BID, lately, greater interest has been shown to the perceptual component. In line with this increased interest into patients’ misrepresentation of body size, came a number of findings illuminating the extent of this phenomenon. Specifically, it was shown that patients appear to misrepresent their bodies in multiple domains. For example, not only do patients perceptually judge their bodies as larger, they also process touch as if their bodies were larger In this study we will try to understand more about this distorted tactile processing, and its relationship to response time and attitudinal BID. We will also explore the confidence with which patients make judgments regarding touch.

Research TeamMs. Manja Engel, Mr. Stephen Gadsby, Prof. Jakob Hohwy
InstitutionMonash University
Ethics Approval Number19265
Project Start Date13 June 2019
Project End Date30 August 2019
ParticipantsFemale participants with either a current or past diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, between the ages of 18 and 65, with a BMI over 13, who are fluent in English. Participants must be fit enough to travel to Monash University and participate in a seated experiment for 45 minutes.
Whats InvolvedThe first part of the study requires completing four questionnaires, which ask questions concerning your diagnoses and how you feel about your body. In the second part of the study you will be asked to estimate distances presented on the skin of the arm and abdomen with a calliper, along with your confidence in these estimates. The full procedure will take approximately 45 minutes and will take place at the Robert Menzies building, room E671 (6th floor), Clayton Monash. The tests will be administered by a female experimenter, Manja Engel, a neuropsychologist with extensive experience working with patients with anorexia nervosa.
LocationMonash University, Clayton, Melbourne, Victoria.
Contact Details

Manja Engel manja.engel@monash.edu

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