Risk for Eating Disorders Modulates Startle-Responses to Body WordsReport as inadecuate




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Body image disturbances are core symptoms of eating disorders EDs. Recent evidence suggests that changes in body image may occur prior to ED onset and are not restricted to in-vivo exposure e.g. mirror image, but also evident during presentation of abstract cues such as body shape and weight-related words. In the present study startle modulation, heart rate and subjective evaluations were examined during reading of body words and neutral words in 41 student female volunteers screened for risk of EDs. The aim was to determine if responses to body words are attributable to a general negativity bias regardless of ED risk or if activated, ED relevant negative body schemas facilitate priming of defensive responses. Heart rate and word ratings differed between body words and neutral words in the whole female sample, supporting a general processing bias for body weight and shape-related concepts in young women regardless of ED risk. Startle modulation was specifically related to eating disorder symptoms, as was indicated by significant positive correlations with self-reported body dissatisfaction. These results emphasize the relevance of examining body schema representations as a function of ED risk across different levels of responding. Peripheral-physiological measures such as the startle reflex could possibly be used as predictors of females’ risk for developing EDs in the future.



Author: Cornelia Herbert , Andrea Kübler, Claus Vögele

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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