Effects of an Appearance-Focused Interpretation Training Intervention on Eating Disorder Symptoms.

About this resource

BACKGROUND: Previous research suggests that computerized interpretation bias modification (IBM) techniques may be useful for modifying thoughts and behaviours relevant to eating pathology; however, little is known about the utility of IBM for decreasing specific eating disorder (ED) symptoms (e.g. bulimia, drive for thinness). AIMS: The current study sought to further examine the utility of IBM for ED symptoms via secondary analyses of an examination of IBM for individuals with elevated body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) symptoms (see Summers and Cougle, 2016), as these disorders are both characterized by threat interpretation biases of ambiguous appearance-related information. METHOD: We recruited 41 participants for a randomized trial comparing four sessions of IBM aimed at modifying problematic social and appearance-related threat interpretation biases with a placebo control training (PC). RESULTS: At 1-week post-treatment, and relative to the PC, the IBM group reported greater reductions in negative/threat interpretations of ambiguous information in favour of positive/benign biases. Furthermore, among individuals with high pre-treatment bulimia symptoms, IBM yielded greater reductions in bulimia symptoms compared with PC at post-treatment. No treatment effects were observed on drive for thinness symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The current study suggests that cognitive interventions for individuals with primary BDD symptoms may improve co-occurring ED symptoms such as bulimia.

AuthorSummers, Berta J.; Cougle, Jesse R.
JournalBehavioural and cognitive psychotherapy

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