Body and affect words : valence, cognitive specificity, and temporal change among young women
Bone, Meagan Elizabeth
Master of Arts
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Attentional biases and extreme attitudes have been linked to schematic functioning and development in depression and eating disorders. Previous research concerning attentional biases toward schema-congruent material in depression and eating disorders has, for the most part, focused on negatively valenced emotion and body weight/shape material, respectively. The present study employed a stimulus word list, comprised of 52 words that was compiled from Brittlebank, Scott, Williams, and Terrier (2003), and Cassin and von Ranson (2005) to assess extreme attitudes toward schema congruent material. The sample was comprised of 60 female high school students who participated in the video series Turning Points for Teens: Ontario Community-Based Treatment for Adolescent Eating D isorders (Davis et al., 2004), as well as 209 female university students. Participants rated each word according to valence (i.e., '’very positive” to ''very negative”). These valence ratings, in combination with measures of body image and eating concerns, affect, depression, and self-esteem were employed to explore the evocative nature of schema-congruent material. Hierarchical multiple regressions indicated that there was a relationship between scores on the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), body mass index (BMI) and the valence and extremity ascribed to body-related stimuli. In contrast, scores on the PANAS Positive Affect Scale were related to the valence ratings ascribed to affect-related words. Furthermore, self-esteem acted as a moderating factor in the relationships between the scores reported on the psychometric measures and the ascribed word valence ratings. Lastly, comparison of pre- and post-intervention scores indicated that participants reported significant reductions in eating and body image concerns, and rated Thin Body stimuli more moderately following participation in the Turning Points program.