Visual processing of one's own body over the course of time: Evidence for the vigilance-avoidance theory in adolescents with anorexia nervosa?

Autor(en): Bauer, Anika
Schneider, Silvia
Waldorf, Manuel 
Cordes, Martin
Huber, Thomas J.
Braks, Karsten
Vocks, Silja 
Stichwörter: adolescents; anorexia nervosa; avoidance; BINGE-EATING DISORDER; body-related attentional bias; COMORBIDITY-SURVEY-REPLICATION; CORTICOTROPIN-RELEASING-FACTOR; CRF-INDUCED ANOREXIA; DRUG-DEPENDENCE; FACTOR MESSENGER-RNA; FEMALE RATS; Nutrition & Dietetics; PALATABLE FOOD; Psychiatry; Psychology; Psychology, Clinical; RESTRAINT STRESS; STRIA TERMINALIS; vigilance
Erscheinungsdatum: 2017
Herausgeber: WILEY
Volumen: 50
Ausgabe: 10
Startseite: 1205
Seitenende: 1214
Objective: The vigilance-avoidance theory postulates a specific threat-related pattern of attention deployment, characterized by initial orientation towards fear-evoking stimuli and subsequent directing of attention away from them. The current eye-tracking study was the first to examine the applicability of the theory for patients with eating disorders, who perceive their own body as a highly aversive, threat-evoking stimulus. Method: N556 female adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN) and n543 healthy controls (HC) aged 13-18 viewed own-body pictures while their eye movements were recorded. Relative fixation times on self-defined unattractive body areas were compared between the groups by sequencing the overall presentation time of 6,000 ms into six intervals similar to a 1,000 ms. Results: Participants with AN showed a significantly stronger attentional bias for unattractive body areas than HC within the time intervals 1, 2, and 3. However, for intervals 4, 5, and 6, no significant group differences occurred. Within the AN group, the bias for unattractive body areas was significantly stronger in interval 1 compared to intervals 4, 5, and 6; whereas within the HC group, a stable pattern of attention deployment emerged. In AN, early attention deployment was positively correlated with the negative affect reported after photo presentation. Discussion: The early vigilance in AN and the subsequent decrease in attention to unattractive body parts is in line with our assumptions. However, no indication of attentional avoidance was found. The current findings partially support the vigilance-avoidance theory for the exposure to one's own body in adolescents with AN.
ISSN: 02763478
DOI: 10.1002/eat.22771

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