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Title: Investigating the 'jumping to conclusions' bias in people with anorexia
Author: Mckenna, Grainne
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the decision making styles demonstrated by people with anorexia. It is presented as three papers: 1) a literature review; 2) an empirical study and 3) a personal reflection on the processes involved in conducting the research and critical appraisal of the issues which emerged. The literature review in Paper 1 systematically explored the existing research that examined decision making in disordered eating populations. Twenty seven papers were reviewed and their findings synthesised to develop a comprehensive overview of decision making across a spectrum of disordered eating populations. Parallels in decision making across diagnostic categories were identified, and the relationship between decision making and clinical, personality and demographic variables was also explored. Methodological quality of studies was reviewed; recommendations for future research were also identified. Broadly, the findings indicated that similar styles of decision making appear evident in anorexia and bulimia. No characteristically different decision making patterns were demonstrated by people with eating disorder-not otherwise specified or by people recovered from anorexia. The evidence regarding nature of decision making in obesity and binge eating disorder was less conclusive. The empirical study conducted in Paper 2 endeavoured to enhance our understanding of the nature of decision making in disordered eating. The study examined a specific decision making bias i.e. the ‘jumping to conclusions’ bias in people with anorexia. The study also explored whether eating disorder related beliefs in anorexia could be considered to be of ‘delusional’ proportions. The results indicated that compared with a healthy control group, people with anorexia did not display a ‘jumping to conclusions’ bias. They did not display a tendency to make decisions on the basis of little evidence. The majority of individuals with anorexia did demonstrate limited insight into their eating disorder related beliefs, though only a minority subgroup held beliefs that could be considered ‘delusional’. Methodological limitations and clinical implications of the findings are discussed. The third paper provides a personal and critical reflective account of the processes involved in conducting both the literature review and the scientific study. It critically appraises aspects of the research process including strengths and limitations of both studies. Implications for clinical practice, replication and directions for future research are also identified. This paper also includes personal reflections on the approaches used and the challenges encountered within these.
Supervisor: Haddock, Gillian; Fox, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Jumping to Conclusions ; Decision Making ; Anorexia Nervosa ; Eating Disorder