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17-12-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2019

Cognitive Therapy and Research 3/2019

Drive for Thinness Versus Fear of Fat: Approach and Avoidance Motivation Regarding Thin and Non-thin Images in Women

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 3/2019
Laura Dondzilo, Elizabeth Rieger, Nishani Jayawardena, Jason Bell
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Internalization of sociocultural attitudes regarding the so-called virtues of thinness and vices of fatness can lead to two motivational orientations: drive for thinness and fear of fat. The current study assessed drive for thinness and fear of fat, via approach and avoidance motivation towards thin-ideal and non-thin bodies respectively, and also the relation between these approach-avoidance tendencies and key eating disorder-related constructs. Participants were 95 female undergraduate students. Results revealed an approach bias for thin-ideal bodies and an avoidance bias for non-thin bodies. Furthermore, a greater approach bias towards thin-ideal bodies was associated with greater body dissatisfaction, thin-ideal internalization, and dietary restraint whilst controlling for body mass index. An avoidance bias away from non-thin bodies did not significantly correlate with any eating disorder-related constructs. These findings imply that drive for thinness may be more relevant than fear of fat as a risk factor for eating disorder symptoms in women.

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