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Clin Psychol Rev. 2004 Jan;23(8):1001-22.

Attentional biases in eating disorders: a meta-analytic review of Stroop performance.

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Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, T2N 1N4, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The Stroop task has been adapted from cognitive psychology to be able to examine attentional biases in various forms of psychopathology, including the eating disorders. This paper reviews the research on the Stroop task in the eating disorders research area in both descriptive and meta-analytic fashions. Twenty-eight empirical studies are identified, which predominantly examine food and body/weight stimuli in bulimic, anorexic, or dieting/food-restricted samples. It is concluded that there is evidence of an attentional bias in bulimia for a range of stimuli but that the effect seems to be limited to body/weight stimuli in anorexia. The evidence to date is that there is no attentional bias in dieting samples. Limitations of the methodology employed in the extant literature include small sample sizes, unstandardized Stroop methodology, restricted gender, and a general lack of consideration of individual differences variables. Recommendations for future research are provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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