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Investigating Body Image Disturbance in Anorexia Nervosa Using Novel Biometric Figure Rating Scales: A Pilot Study




This study uses novel biometric figure rating scales (FRS) spanning body mass index (BMI) 13.8 to 32.2 kg/m2 and BMI 18 to 42 kg/m2. The aims of the study were (i) to compare FRS body weight dissatisfaction and perceptual distortion of women with anorexia nervosa (AN) to a community sample; (ii) how FRS parameters are associated with questionnaire body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms and appearance comparison habits; and (iii) whether the weight spectrum of the FRS matters. Women with AN (n = 24) and a community sample of women (n = 104) selected their current and ideal body on the FRS and completed additional questionnaires. Women with AN accurately picked the body that aligned best with their actual weight in both FRS. Controls underestimated their BMI in the FRS 14–32 and were accurate in the FRS 18–42. In both FRS, women with AN desired a body close to their actual BMI and controls desired a thinner body. Our observations suggest that body image disturbance in AN is unlikely to be characterized by a visual perceptual disturbance, but rather by an idealization of underweight in conjunction with high body dissatisfaction. The weight spectrum of FRS can influence the accuracy of BMI estimation.

Author(s): Simone C. Mölbert and Anne Thaler and Stephan Streuber and Michael J. Black and Hans‐Otto Karnath and Stephan Zipfel and Betty Mohler and Katrin E. Giel
Journal: European Eating Disorders Review
Volume: 25
Number (issue): 6
Pages: 607--612
Year: 2017
Month: November

Department(s): Perceiving Systems
Research Project(s): Anorexia and Body Shape
Bibtex Type: Article (article)
Paper Type: Journal

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.2559

Links: publisher


  title = {Investigating Body Image Disturbance in Anorexia Nervosa Using Novel Biometric Figure Rating Scales: A Pilot Study},
  author = {M\"{o}lbert, Simone C. and Thaler, Anne and Streuber, Stephan and Black, Michael J. and Karnath, Hans‐Otto and Zipfel, Stephan and Mohler, Betty and Giel, Katrin E.},
  journal = {European Eating Disorders Review},
  volume = {25},
  number = {6},
  pages = {607--612},
  month = nov,
  year = {2017},
  month_numeric = {11}