Thinking yourself fat: The perceived relationship between thoughts and body shape

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Abstract

Background:

Thought–shape fusion (TSF) is a cognitive bias associated with eating disorder psychopathology. The association among TSF, body image, and eating behaviours was examined in a sample of Australian males and females in addition to whether or not the different components of TSF (Interpretation and Concept) equally predicted disordered body image and eating behaviours.

Methods:

A community sample of 167 females and 31 males with no history of an eating disorder completed questionnaires measuring eating disorder pathology and body image.

Results:

TSF significantly correlated with measures of disordered eating behaviours and distorted body image. However, females were more likely to experience TSF than males, with TSF Interpretation accounting for higher levels of disordered body image and eating behaviour than TSF Concept.

Conclusions:

Future research should aim to clarify or establish gender differences in an eating disordered population to further investigate whether or not the cognitive bias known as TSF should be addressed in treatment approaches.

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