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Title: Developing a cognitive formulation and applying a cognitive model of bulimia nervosa and binging to adult obesity
Author: Whitaker, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 7757
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Although obesity is an increasing issue, with a multitude of physical and psychological consequences, a detailed psychological (and particularly cognitive) formulation of why adults become and remain obese is lacking. There is also limited evidence for the long term effectiveness of psychological approaches to treating obesity. The first paper reviews literature that presents information about cognitive factors known to be involved in obesity. It applies a metacognitive model of bulimia nervosa and binge eating to organise this data, resulting in a metacognitive model of obesity. This model is evaluated with regard to what constitutes a good model. The second paper assesses whether the multilevel cognitive factors, found to be relevant in explaining eating disorders, are also useful in explaining obesity (measured by body mass index). A community sample of218 women (of all weights) was recruited to take part in an online survey. In addition to demographic and relevant control factors, this survey asked about cognitions at schema, core belief and metacognitive levels. The results showed that obese and healthy weight participants differed significantly on a number of cognitive variables. A hierarchical multiple regression was conducted and it was found that cognitions at all levels significantly predicted body mass index. Once control factors had been entered into the regression model, significant cognitive predictors were; negative thoughts (metacognitions); schemas of abandonment, social isolation, emotional deprivation and failure; and the core belief of high standards for self (negative correlation). These fmdings support the use of a multilevel metacognitive model for understanding obesity; information which could inform treatment. The use of this model and any treatment plan will need to be evaluated in future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available