The drive for thinness: Towards a mechanistic understanding of avoidance behaviors in a non-clinical population.

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Date: July 2021
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 315 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Anorexia nervosa; Avoidance; Fear conditioning; Drive for thinness; Relief; Reward Highlights * DT is associated with rigid and excessive avoidance behavior at a subclinical level. * DT does not relate to relief, and the role of the reward system in excessive avoidance remains unsupported for now. * DT may be directly related to a higher propensity to control negative events. Abstract Fear of weight gain is a cardinal feature of eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa (AN). This fear motivates behaviors aimed at avoiding weight gain, such as restricting food intake. Of note, avoidance in AN is not confined to food-related items but extends to intense emotional states. Despite the presence of several forms of excessive avoidance in AN, little is known about the mechanisms underpinning avoidance behavior in AN. In the present exploratory study, we investigated whether university students with an elevated desire to avoid weight gain (as measured through self-reported Drive for Thinness, DT) show deficits in generic avoidance learning. Two-hundred and seventy-five female students filled in the Eating Disorder Inventory-II (EDI-II) and performed a food-unrelated avoidance task. Generalized and linear mixed models (GLMM) revealed that students scoring higher on the DT scale of the EDI-II showed more ineffective avoidance, suggesting a tendency for excessive avoidance in at-risk individuals for AN. Similar results might extend to other eating disorders. Author Affiliation: (a) Laboratory of Biological Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium (b) Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium (c) Research Unit Behaviour, Health and Psychopathology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium (d) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium * Corresponding author. Laboratory of Biological Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium. Article History: Received 26 November 2020; Revised 12 April 2021; Accepted 18 April 2021 Byline: S. Papalini [silvia.papalini@kuleuven.be] (a,b,*), T. Beckers (b,c), L. Claes (c,d), B. Vervliet (a,b)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A664259793