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Social comparison and its relation to body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa: evidence from eye movements.
Psychosom Med. 2009 Oct; 71(8):907-12.PM

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the role of social comparison for body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa (BN). Previous research suggested that exposure to media content idealizing thin body shape decreases body satisfaction, particularly in women with eating disorder symptoms. This might be due to the negative outcome of social comparisons with media models, and women with eating disorders might be particularly susceptible because they engage in upward social comparison more frequently than women without these symptoms. However, no study has yet explored both upward (i.e., toward more attractive others) and downward (i.e., toward less attractive others) social comparisons and their impact on body dissatisfaction in a clinical eating disorder and healthy controls.

METHODS

We presented patients with BN (n = 20) and healthy controls (HC) (n = 22) with slides comprising a digitized image of their own body alongside comparison bodies with higher and lower body mass indices (BMIs) while measuring their eye movements.

RESULTS

As hypothesized, patients with BN fixated longer on comparison bodies with lower BMIs than controls, with the reverse pattern for high BMI bodies. This gaze pattern suggests that upward comparisons were more prevalent in the BN group. Furthermore, upward comparisons were related to a drop in body satisfaction in the BN group.

CONCLUSIONS

Disadvantageous social comparison strategies might be related to body dissatisfaction and therefore to the maintenance of BN.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute for Psychology, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany. Blechert@psychologie.uni-freiburg.deNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19661192

Citation

Blechert, Jens, et al. "Social Comparison and Its Relation to Body Dissatisfaction in Bulimia Nervosa: Evidence From Eye Movements." Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 71, no. 8, 2009, pp. 907-12.
Blechert J, Nickert T, Caffier D, et al. Social comparison and its relation to body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa: evidence from eye movements. Psychosom Med. 2009;71(8):907-12.
Blechert, J., Nickert, T., Caffier, D., & Tuschen-Caffier, B. (2009). Social comparison and its relation to body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa: evidence from eye movements. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71(8), 907-12. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181b4434d
Blechert J, et al. Social Comparison and Its Relation to Body Dissatisfaction in Bulimia Nervosa: Evidence From Eye Movements. Psychosom Med. 2009;71(8):907-12. PubMed PMID: 19661192.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Social comparison and its relation to body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa: evidence from eye movements. AU - Blechert,Jens, AU - Nickert,Till, AU - Caffier,Detlef, AU - Tuschen-Caffier,Brunna, Y1 - 2009/08/06/ PY - 2009/8/8/entrez PY - 2009/8/8/pubmed PY - 2010/1/6/medline SP - 907 EP - 12 JF - Psychosomatic medicine JO - Psychosom Med VL - 71 IS - 8 N2 - OBJECTIVE: To determine the role of social comparison for body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa (BN). Previous research suggested that exposure to media content idealizing thin body shape decreases body satisfaction, particularly in women with eating disorder symptoms. This might be due to the negative outcome of social comparisons with media models, and women with eating disorders might be particularly susceptible because they engage in upward social comparison more frequently than women without these symptoms. However, no study has yet explored both upward (i.e., toward more attractive others) and downward (i.e., toward less attractive others) social comparisons and their impact on body dissatisfaction in a clinical eating disorder and healthy controls. METHODS: We presented patients with BN (n = 20) and healthy controls (HC) (n = 22) with slides comprising a digitized image of their own body alongside comparison bodies with higher and lower body mass indices (BMIs) while measuring their eye movements. RESULTS: As hypothesized, patients with BN fixated longer on comparison bodies with lower BMIs than controls, with the reverse pattern for high BMI bodies. This gaze pattern suggests that upward comparisons were more prevalent in the BN group. Furthermore, upward comparisons were related to a drop in body satisfaction in the BN group. CONCLUSIONS: Disadvantageous social comparison strategies might be related to body dissatisfaction and therefore to the maintenance of BN. SN - 1534-7796 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19661192/Social_comparison_and_its_relation_to_body_dissatisfaction_in_bulimia_nervosa:_evidence_from_eye_movements_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -