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Title: Psychological risk factors and vulnerabilities in eating disorders
Author: McCubbin, Ian James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6199
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Clinically significant eating disorders (EDs) are associated with significant mortality and morbidity. Despite the existent of a considerable body of research literature and published clinical guidelines, a significant proportion of individuals who received psychological therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and other clinically significant EDs, do not significantly improve. As consequence it is important to determine which factors may predict outcome following psychological therapy and to what extent these are in line with current models of EDs. Experimental methods have been used to explore emotional processing deficits, and also the presence of ED specific beliefs, in AN in order to enhance understanding of the cognitive and affective factors underpinning EDs. To date these experimental methods have not been used to investigate BN. The theoretical paper considers the role of psychological factors in predicting outcome for individuals with clinically significant EDs following psychological therapy and relates these to a cognitive model of AN and a cognitive model ofBN. The factors examined in the review were found to be broadly in line with what the main cognitive models would predict. The other factors found were considered in the context of the available research evidence. The empirical paper considered possible emotional processing deficits and the presence of self referential ED-specific beliefs in BN. The responses of 12 individuals with BN on a Self Schema Processing Task (SSPT) and a Facial Expression Recognition Task (FERT) were compared to the responses of a control group consisting of 12 healthy volunteers. Individuals with BN reported significantly more deficits in the expression of emotions and endorsed significantly more negative self referential words than the control groups. A pattern was observed in the reaction times in the BN group that suggested that higher levels of eating disorder psychopathology may be associated with impairment in emotional recognition. It is important that further research is carried out in order to determine the specific nature of these deficits.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available