Childhood Teasing and Adult Implicit Cognitive Biases
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Benas, J.S. & Gibb, B.E. Cogn Ther Res (2011) 35: 491. doi:10.1007/s10608-010-9326-y
There is growing evidence for the role of negative implicit cognitions in eating disorders as well as other forms of psychopathology. What is less well understood are the potential developmental correlates of these biases and whether there is any preferential relation between the type of childhood experiences and implicit cognitions for one disorder versus another. This study examined the relations of implicit eating-relevant and depression-relevant cognitions with adult women’s reports of childhood teasing. As hypothesized, reports of childhood teasing were significantly related to both eating-relevant and depressive implicit associations. Supporting the preferential relations hypothesis, reports of a specific type of teasing—weight-related teasing—were significantly more strongly related to eating-relevant implicit associations than depression-relevant implicit associations. These findings were maintained even after statistically controlling for current symptom levels. Given the high comorbidity of eating disorders and depression, these findings represent an important step in better discerning the characteristics of negative childhood events hypothesized to be uniquely associated with disorder-specific cognitions.