Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 417–425 | Cite as

Cognitive Distortions in Normal-Weight and Overweight Women: Susceptibility to Thought-Shape Fusion

  • Jennifer S. Coelho
  • Anita Jansen
  • Martine Bouvard
Original Article


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.


Cognitive distortions Thought-shape fusion Overweight Food cue 



This research was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Program awarded to the first author. We would like to thank Anne Roefs and Chantal Nederkoorn for their technical assistance with this research. Portions of this research were presented at the World Congress of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Boston, June 2010.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Coelho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anita Jansen
    • 1
  • Martine Bouvard
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Faculty of Psychology and NeuroscienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Interuniversity Laboratory of PsychologyUniversité de SavoieChambéry cedex, Jacob-BellecombetteFrance

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