Cognitive Distortions in Normal-Weight and Overweight Women: Susceptibility to Thought-Shape Fusion
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- Coelho, J.S., Jansen, A. & Bouvard, M. Cogn Ther Res (2012) 36: 417. doi:10.1007/s10608-011-9372-0
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Cognitive distortions may be implicated in difficulties with normalized eating. One specific distortion relevant to eating pathology is “thought-shape fusion” (TSF), in which just imagining eating high-caloric food leads individuals to feel fatter, and to perceive weight gain and moral wrong-doing. The current study investigated whether there are differential responses to TSF inductions in normal-weight versus overweight females. A total of 60 females participated, who were classified as either normal-weight (n = 32) or overweight (n = 28). Participants were randomly assigned to either a TSF or a neutral induction condition, and their responses on TSF questionnaires were assessed. The results indicated that normal-weight individuals reported higher TSF levels after a TSF induction than a control induction, whereas there were no significant differences across conditions for overweight individuals. This suggests that normal-weight females were more susceptible to the TSF induction than were overweight females. The results are discussed in terms of possible differences between normal-weight and overweight females in self-regulation after food-cue exposure.