Approach and avoidance: Relations with the thin body ideal in women with disordered eating behavior

Faculty/Professorship: Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy  
Author(s): Leins, Judith ; Waldorf, Manuel; Kollei, Ines  ; Rinck, Mike; Steins-Löber, Sabine  
Title of the Journal: Psychiatry Research
ISSN: 0165-1781
Publisher Information: Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science
Year of publication: 2018
Volume: 269
Pages: 286-292
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.08.029
Recent research suggests that automatic cognitive biases are linked to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behavior. However, little is known about automatic action tendencies in the field of body image research. The aim of the present study was to examine approach and avoidance biases toward the thin body ideal and normal weight bodies and whether these are pronounced in individuals showing disordered eating behavior. Participants were divided into a group with disordered eating behavior (n = 55) and without disordered eating behavior (n = 45). To assess approach and avoidance tendencies, the Approach-Avoidance Task was used during which the participants were instructed to approach or avoid thin and normal weight body pictures. Our results indicated faster push than pull movements towards thin and normal weight body pictures. However, participants with and without disordered eating behavior did not differ with regard to their reactions. Furthermore, we found positive associations between the avoidance of normal weight body pictures and perceived pressure to confirm to media ideals. Future research is warranted to replicate our findings and to extend our knowledge on approach and avoidance biases toward body pictures in patients suffering from eating disorders.
Keywords: Approach-Avoidance Task, Approach bias, Avoidance bias, Indirect, Behavior
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Year of publication: 27. September 2018