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Investigating body image disturbance in patients with anorexia nervosa using new biometric figure rating scales

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Mölbert,  S
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Space and Body Perception, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Thaler,  A
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Black,  M
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Mohler,  B
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Space and Body Perception, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Mölbert, S., Thaler, A., Streuber, S., Black, M., Karnath, H., Zipfel, S., et al. (2017). Investigating body image disturbance in patients with anorexia nervosa using new biometric figure rating scales. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 97, 161-162.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-C57A-9
Abstract
Aims: Body image disturbance is a core symptom of anorexia nervosa (AN), and it is often assessed using Figure Rating Scales (FRS). Typically, FRS consist of a series of body drawings, and participants are asked to pick the body that corresponds best to their current and their desired body. So far, hardly any FRS is based on biometric data. Here, we use two new biometric FRS to investigate whether the presented weight spectrum influences a) accuracy in identifying the current weight and b) the desired weight in women with AN and controls. Method: Based on a statistical body model of human body shape and pose (Anguelov et al., 2005) and body scans of 2094 women from the CAESAR data set (Robinette et al., 1999) we generated biometric average bodies of women with predefined Body Mass Index (kg/m2, BMI). For the FRS 14-32 we used nine bodies with a BMI of 13.8 to 32.3 and for the FRS 18-42 we used nine bodies with BMI of 18 to 42. We administered the scales along with questionnaires assessing height, weight, body dissatisfaction, habits of social comparison and eating disorder symptoms to n= 104 women from the normal population (BMI= 23.90, SD=6.06) and n=24 women with anorexia nervosa (BMI= 15.07, SD=1.62). n=61 women from the normal population and n=18 women with AN completed both FRS. Results: In the FRS 18-42, both groups were accurate in picking the body that corresponded best to their current weight (average offset in weight steps: Controls M=0.12, SD=1.05; AN M=0.33, SD=0.97; F(1,120)=0.67, n.s.). In the FRS 14-32, women with AN were still accurate while controls significantly underestimated their size by about one step (Controls: M=-1.18, SD=0.97; AN M=0.10, SD=0.89; F(1,75)=27.32, p<.001). In both FRS, controls desired a body that was thinner than their actual body (FRS 18-42 M=-1.33, SD=1.72; FRS 14-32 M=-1.97, SD=1.23) and women with AN desired a body close to their actual weight (FRS 18-42 M=0.61, SD=0.61; FRS 18-42 M=0.36, SD=1.29). In the FRS 14-32, participants generally wanted a thinner body than in the FRS 18-42 (F(1)=23.54, p<.001). Conclusions: Our results suggest that the range of FRS can influence a) accuracy in identifying one’s weight and b) the desired weight. Different strategies, such as “comparing body features” versus “placing oneself in a range” could account for these differences. When interpreting FRS, the provided range should always be taken into account.