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Lower body weight is associated with less negative emotions in sad autobiographical memories of patients with anorexia nervosa


Brockmeyer, Timo; Grosse Holtforth, Martin; Bents, Hinrich; Herzog, Wolfgang; Friederich, Hans-Christoph (2013). Lower body weight is associated with less negative emotions in sad autobiographical memories of patients with anorexia nervosa. Psychiatry Research, 210(2):548-552.

Abstract

Food restriction and weight-loss have been proposed to represent pathogenic mechanisms of emotion regulation in anorexia nervosa (AN). However, there is a lack of studies empirically examining this hypothesis. Therefore, the present study compared 25 women with AN and 25 healthy control women (HC) regarding spontaneous emotional processing of autobiographic memories. Participants' idiographic memories of sad autobiographic events were analyzed using computerized, quantitative text analysis as an unobtrusive approach of nonreactive assessment. Compared to HC, AN patients retrieved more negative but a comparable number of positive emotions. Moreover, the lesser the body weight in AN patients, the lesser negative emotions they retrieved, irrespective of current levels of depressive symptoms and duration of illness. No such association was found in HC. These preliminary findings are in line with models of AN proposing that food restriction and weight-loss may be negatively reinforced by the alleviation of aversive emotional responses.

Abstract

Food restriction and weight-loss have been proposed to represent pathogenic mechanisms of emotion regulation in anorexia nervosa (AN). However, there is a lack of studies empirically examining this hypothesis. Therefore, the present study compared 25 women with AN and 25 healthy control women (HC) regarding spontaneous emotional processing of autobiographic memories. Participants' idiographic memories of sad autobiographic events were analyzed using computerized, quantitative text analysis as an unobtrusive approach of nonreactive assessment. Compared to HC, AN patients retrieved more negative but a comparable number of positive emotions. Moreover, the lesser the body weight in AN patients, the lesser negative emotions they retrieved, irrespective of current levels of depressive symptoms and duration of illness. No such association was found in HC. These preliminary findings are in line with models of AN proposing that food restriction and weight-loss may be negatively reinforced by the alleviation of aversive emotional responses.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:02 Dec 2013 13:19
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 00:20
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0165-1781
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2013.06.024
PubMed ID:23850436

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