The role of food-cue exposure and negative affect in the experience of thought-shape fusion

J.S. Coelho*, A.J. Roefs, A.T.M. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Thought-shape fusion (TSF) is a cognitive distortion that can be induced by imagining eating high-caloric foods, and involves increased guilt, feelings of fatness, and perceptions of weight gain and moral wrongdoing. Two studies were conducted to further elucidate this phenomenon. Study 1 investigated whether merely being exposed to fattening foods (without being asked to think about these foods) could induce a TSF-like experience. Study 2 investigated the relationship between negative affect and TSF-like experiences. The results suggested that TSF is specific to thinking about eating fattening foods, as mere exposure to high-caloric foods did not increase state TSF scores in healthy females relative to a neutral control condition. Furthermore, susceptibility to TSF is associated with negative affect. Healthy females with low levels of negative affect appear to be protected against TSF, medium negative affect is associated with susceptibility to TSF inductions, while those with high levels of negative affect appear to be particularly vulnerable to TSF-like experiences (even after imagining a neutral situation). Overall, the studies suggest that negative affect is associated with a TSF-like experience, and that TSF is a phenomenon that is experienced (to at least some extent) by females in the general population. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-417
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

Keywords

  • ANOREXIA-NERVOSA
  • BODY-IMAGE
  • BULIMIA-NERVOSA
  • Cognitive distortions
  • DIETARY RESTRAINT
  • DISORDERS
  • Dietary restraint
  • EATING BEHAVIOR
  • Food cue
  • MOOD
  • Negative affect
  • SATISFACTION
  • Thought-shape fusion
  • VALIDATION
  • WOMEN

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