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Attention Training and Its Effects on Body Image Disturbance

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
University of Sydney Identifier:
First received: April 22, 2010
Last updated: NA
Last verified: April 2010
History: No changes posted
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.

Condition Intervention
Body Dissatisfaction Eating Disorder Symptoms Behavioral: attention training Behavioral: placebo training

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment

Further study details as provided by University of Sydney:

Enrollment: 32
Study Start Date: June 2009
Study Completion Date: January 2010
Primary Completion Date: December 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: placebo training Behavioral: placebo training
Experimental: attention training Behavioral: attention training


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 37 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • If they have a score on the Body Shape Questionnaire of 113 or more AND a score in the EDE-Q of 4 or more in any subscale.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • attention bias score of <-10
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01110265

Australia, New South Wales
The University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2006
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Sydney
  More Information

Responsible Party: Evelyn Smith, The University of Sydney Identifier: NCT01110265     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: USydney11760
Study First Received: April 22, 2010
Last Updated: April 22, 2010

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on September 21, 2017