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Int J Eat Disord. 1998 Jul;24(1):65-82.

The disorder-salient stroop effect as a measure of psychopathology in eating disorders.

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Sub-Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University College, London, United Kingdom.



The aim was to assess, using sophisticated experimental methods, the amount of interference on a Stroop task in patients with eating disorders, under conditions of blocked and mixed stimulus presentation.


Patients with eating disorders and non-patients named the color in which a word was displayed. Words came from an experimental category (food/eating, weight/shape, "emotion," or affectively neutral word) or from a matched set of unrelated control words. Color-naming latencies were compared in a blocked condition, with words from just one set in each block, and in a mixed condition, with a mixture of word types in each block.


In the mixed condition, patients took longer to color-name food/eating and weight/shape words than control words. With blocked presentation this effect was magnified; and patients with bulimia nervosa also showed increased naming-latency for "emotion" words. Non-patients showed neither effect and no group showed interference for the affectively neutral category. Patients' interference effects correlated reliably with self-reported depression and anxiety.


Sources of interference and methodological and diagnostic implications are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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