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Title: Conceptual and experiential self-focus in eating disorders
Author: Rawal, Adhip
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 9547
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis reports five studies investigating cognitive processes in eating disorder (ED) psychopathology. Chapter 1 describes background information about EDs. Chapter 2 reviews cognitive theories of Anorexia Nervosa (AN), and discusses how integration of a process-focused framework, originally applied to depression, may advance under-standing of maintaining mechanisms in AN. Chapter 3 reports a focus group with AN patients that explores features of the subjective experience of the disorder. Findings highlight ruminative, avoidant and discrepancy-based thinking: features that are suggested to be indicative of a ‘conceptualising’ mode of processing. Patients’ reports suggest positive effects of a body-mindfulness group, which encourages an alternative, ‘experiential’ mode of processing. Chapter 4 presents data on rumination, experiential avoidance, negative self-beliefs and underlying assumptions in an analogue population and shows elevated levels for ED-concerned individuals on all of these measures. Chapter 5 examines mode of processing effects (conceptual vs. experiential) in an analogue population. Findings show differential stress-induced emotional reactivity, particularly in the ED-concerned group. Chapter 6 investigates mode of processing effects in a sample of AN patients. Results confirm that modes of processing have differential effects on stress-induced emotional reactivity. Chapter 7 presents data from a 10-month follow-up of AN patients. This study shows that changes in ED-symptoms are associated with changes in rumination, avoidance and aspects of schematic thinking. Differential stress-induced reactivity is associated with outcome. Finally, chapter 8 discusses theoretical and clinical implications of this research and the mode of processing framework in EDs, particularly AN, as well describing how future investigations may continue integrating this framework to the study of ED psycho-pathology. The current findings suggest that both cognitive-affective content and the underlying mental processing activity need consideration in cognitive models of EDs.
Supervisor: Williams, J. Mark G. ; Park, Rebecca J. Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychiatry ; Psychology ; eating disorders ; anorexia nervosa ; psychopathology ; self-regulation ; emotional processing ; rumination ; mindfulness