Body Image, Eating Disorders, Neurocognition
Body image, broadly defined as an individual's general experience of his or her physical appearance, is a multidimensional phenomenon that has been found to affect functioning throughout the lifetime. Although some degree of dissatisfaction has been found to be a common aspect of the female experience, research suggests that a disturbance in body image can result in a number of clinical complications, particularly the development of an eating disorder (ED). Despite the relationship between body image and EDs, examinations of the cognitive underpinnings of the relationship between body image disturbance and EDs are relatively few and inconclusive. Research indicates that individuals with an ED diagnosis exhibit cognitive rigidity (deficits in set-shifting ability) and weak central coherence(as demonstrated by performance on measures of information processing style). However, research has not established whether individuals with body image disturbance who do not meet criteria for an ED exhibit comparable performance. The aim of the current study was to determine whether individuals with body image disturbance exhibit similar patterns of neuropsychological functioning. A sample of women with high levels of body image disturbance completed a battery of cognitive tests and outcomes were compared to a group of women with little disturbance and also compared with performance of individuals with diagnosed EDs as cited in previous studies. Overall, the results do not clearly indicate that women with body image disturbance have difficulties with set-shifting tasks and global information processing, however some preliminary patterns did emerge. These preliminary findings extend existing theoretical models of body image and have potential to inform clinical efforts aimed at improving treatment protocols for body image disturbance and EDs by targeting these aspects of neurocognition during treatment.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Frei, Elizabeth, "Neurocognitive Correlates Of Body Image Disturbance" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3948.