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Research has consistently found attentional biases towards negative weight-related stimuli in individuals with eating disorders. It has been suggested that these biases may act as a vulnerability factor for the development and maintenance of body dissatisfaction and may therefore be an important target for intervention. Previous studies have demonstrated the capacity to modify the patterns of attention allocation to threatening stimuli in a variety of anxiety disorders, with a subsequent and sustained reduction in anxiety symptoms. Thus, the present study aimed at testing the efficacy of attention training in reducing attentional biases and eating disorder symptoms in individuals with elevated levels of body image disturbance and eating disorder symptomatology of clinical severity. Thirty-two participants were randomly allocated to receive eight sessions of a 10-minute computer task aimed at training their attention away from weight-related stimuli or a control placebo training condition. Results showed that participants in the attention training group had a significantly greater reduction in their attentional bias and body dissatisfaction from pre- to post-training relative to the placebo condition. At follow-up, both groups showed a significant decrease in body dissatisfaction from their pre-training levels. The only significant difference between groups in eating disorder symptoms at follow-up was in terms of the attention training group experiencing a greater reduction in weight and shape concerns.
Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment
attention training, placebo training
The University of Sydney
New South Wales
University of Sydney
Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:14:12-0400
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