An interactive training programme to treat body image disturbance

Lucinda Gledhill, katri cornelissen, Piers Cornelissen, Ian S Penton-Voak, Marcus Munafo, Martin J Tovée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
313 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a life-threatening mental health condition. A core feature is a disturbance of body image, such that sufferers see themselves as fatter than they actually are.

Design: We tested the effectiveness of a novel training program to recalibrate our participants' perception of body size.

Methods: In a novel adaptation of a cognitive bias training program, participants judged the body size of a series of female bodies and were given feedback to improve their accuracy over 4 daily training sessions. In Study 1, we recruited young women with high concerns about their body size for a randomised controlled study. In Study 2, we then applied the training program to a case series of women with atypical AN.

Results: In Study 1, the training program significantly improved the body size judgements of women with high body concerns compared to controls. We also found evidence of improved body image and reduced eating concerns in this group. In Study 2, the program again recalibrated the body size judgements of women with atypical AN. We also saw evidence of a clinically meaningful reduction in their body size and eating disordered concerns.

Conclusions: This training has the potential to be a valuable treatment used together with more traditional talking therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60–76
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date3 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Cognitive Science
  • Social Cognition
  • Tobacco and Alcohol


  • Body Size Training
  • Body Size judgements
  • Anorexia Nervosa Syndrome Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa

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