Why women overestimate body size: An investigation into disordered eating and perceptual abilities in a community sample

Tania Henry (2011). Why women overestimate body size: An investigation into disordered eating and perceptual abilities in a community sample Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Tania Henry
Thesis Title Why women overestimate body size: An investigation into disordered eating and perceptual abilities in a community sample
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-13
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Jeanie Sheffield
Total pages 84
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Disordered eating behaviours that manifest in women in the community represent an alarmingly common yet highly perplexing set of attitudes. These behaviours are considered difficult to eliminate because sufferers believe they are larger than they actually are. However, the question remains unanswered whether these overestimations of the self occur due to embedded perceptual deficits or extreme body dissatisfaction causing the individual to visualise themselves as larger. The current study aimed to investigate the general perceptual ability of women in the community with differing levels of disordered eating characteristics. A community sample of 83 participants completed a computer-based size judgement task, and an online survey that measured disordered eating characteristics and a range of other psychosocial factors. Participants indicated whether the first or second of two consecutively presented silhouettes was wider in shape. The first silhouette was always the same standard size, while the second was larger, smaller, or the same size as the standard silhouette. In the priming condition, that aimed to investigate the subconscious processing of weight-related images, a backward masked large silhouette was inserted briefly (40 milliseconds) between the first and second silhouettes. Results revealed that of the two subgroups, the high disordered eating group was significantly less accurate than the low disordered eating group, but only in the prime condition. These results suggest that the subconscious processing of weight-related images in individuals with disordered eating characteristics negatively influence their perceptual ability. The current research has important practical implications because it facilitates an improved understanding of the causal and maintaining factors of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours.
Keyword Body size overestimation
Disordered eating attitudes

 
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Created: Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 14:44:02 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology