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Implicit attitudes towards food and the self in sub-clinical eating disorder pathology

Anokhina, A; (2015) Implicit attitudes towards food and the self in sub-clinical eating disorder pathology. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the assessment of implicit cognition in disordered eating behaviour, and specifically on the role of implicit attitudes towards the self and food in sub-clinical levels of eating disorder (ED) pathology. Chapter I reviews key theoretical approaches to implicit cognition and an assessment of the properties of implicit attitudes. Chapter II discusses methodological approaches to implicit attitude assessment, with a focus on the Implicit Attitude Test (IAT) which was used in the empirical studies. Chapter III (Study 1) outlines research in implicit cognition in ED pathology and assesses differences in implicit self-esteem (i.e., implicit attitude towards the self) between high-pathology and low-pathology participants. While the results of the study supported the presence of a self-esteem discrepancy in the high-pathology group, the findings were insufficient to pursue further research in this area. The next three studies were focused on the role implicit food attitudes. Chapter IV (Study 2) introduces the hypothesis that implicit food attitudes and ego depletion may play a role in elevated ED pathology. However, the ego depletion procedure used was not successful and the results were therefore insufficient to either support or reject the hypothesis. Chapter V (Study 3) assessed similar questions to Study 2, but from the angle of automatic approach and avoidance towards food stimuli and dietary restraint failure. Contrary to expectations, the results suggested that it is unlikely that either ego depletion or a positive implicit attitude towards high-fat foods contributes to dietary restraint failure. Chapter VI (Study 4) was designed to clarify the findings of Study 3 and found that implicit food attitudes may change following novel goal activation or changes in behaviour. Chapter VII is a general discussion which summarises the findings, discusses the outcomes within the broader context of implicit cognition theories, and proposes directions for further study.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Implicit attitudes towards food and the self in sub-clinical eating disorder pathology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: eating disorders, implicit cognition, implicit attitudes, attitudes, dieting, implicit association test
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1464573
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