Attentional bias to social-evaluative threat in body image dissatisfaction

DClinPsych Thesis

Schiza, A. 2018. Attentional bias to social-evaluative threat in body image dissatisfaction. DClinPsych Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsSchiza, A.
TypeDClinPsych Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Clinical Psychology

The study aimed to examine attentional biases to social evaluative threat in individuals with a diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Given the high degree of social evaluative anxiety in this population, it was expected that BDD participants, similar to people with high levels of social anxiety, would exhibit a stronger attentional bias to social threat than people without these difficulties. 13 individuals (ten women) with a diagnosis of BDD and 13 individuals (ten women) without a mental health diagnosis took the ‘face-in-the-crowd’ task. This involved detecting an emotionally incongruent face in an array (crowd) of 12 faces. Faster detection of a threatening face (angry or disgusted) in an array of happy or neutral faces, implied an attentional bias to threat. Slower reaction times in angry or disgusted crowds implied that participants were devoting more attentional resources to processing threat. A number of 2 x 2 ANOVAS were conducted with Group (BDD vs. Control) as between-subject factors and Stimuli Type (Angry vs. non-threatening) as within-subject factors. Contrary to predictions, the study found that while both BDD and Control group participants showed an attentional bias to threat, there were no significant between group differences. As the study included a very small sample, conclusions were drawn with caution. Clinical and research implications are presented.

KeywordsBody Dysmorphic Disorder ; attentional bias
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Deposited15 Nov 2019
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