Depictive and metric body size estimation in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

About this resource

A distorted representation of one's own body is a diagnostic criterion and core psychopathology of both anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). Despite recent technical advances in research, it is still unknown whether this body image disturbance is characterized by body dissatisfaction and a low ideal weight and/or includes a distorted perception or processing of body size. In this article, we provide an update and meta-analysis of 42 articles summarizing measures and results for body size estimation (BSE) from 926 individuals with AN, 536 individuals with BN and 1920 controls. We replicate findings that individuals with AN and BN overestimate their body size as compared to controls (ES = 0.63). Our meta-regression shows that metric methods (BSE by direct or indirect spatial measures) yield larger effect sizes than depictive methods (BSE by evaluating distorted pictures), and that effect sizes are larger for patients with BN than for patients with AN. To interpret these results, we suggest a revised theoretical framework for BSE that accounts for differences between depictive and metric BSE methods regarding the underlying body representations (conceptual vs. perceptual, implicit vs. explicit). We also discuss clinical implications and argue for the importance of multimethod approaches to investigate body image disturbance.

AuthorSimone Claire Mölbert, Lukas Klein, Anne Thaler, Betty J.Mohler, Chiara Brozzo, Peter Martus, Hans-Otto Karnath, Stephan Zipfel, Katrin Elisabeth Giel
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Year2017

See also

Classification of childhood onset eating disorders: A latent class analysis

This study tested the hypothesis that latent class analysis (LCA) would successfully classify eating disorder (ED) symptoms in children into categories that mapped onto DSM-5 diagnoses and that these categories would be consistent across countries.

Read more

The Potential of Technology-Based Psychological Interventions for Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa: A Systematic Review and Recommendations for Future Research

BACKGROUND Previous studies have shown an unmet need in the treatment of eating disorders.

Read more

Eating disorders in youth: Diagnostic variability and predictive validity

OBJECTIVE: The primary aim was to examine the utility of DSM-IV criteria in predicting treatment outcome in a sample of adolescents with eating disorders.

Read more

Inpatient cognitive behaviour therapy for anorexia nervosa: A randomized controlled trial

Background: The aim of this study was to compare the immediate and longer-term effects of two cognitive behaviour therapy programmes for hospitalized patients with anorexia nervosa, one focused exclusively on the patients' eating disorder features and the other focused also on mood intolerance, clinical perfectionism, core low self-esteem or interpersonal difficulties.

Read more

Help us improve!

Give us feedback!

We will continue throughout 2019 to update and improve the NEDC website and welcome any feedback you may have on the site.

Provide feedback