Weight and shape concerns are core aspects of eating disorders and can have an intrusive and obsessive character. Such thoughts play an important role in the development and maintenance of eating disorders and seem to be a result of dysfunctional cognitive networks. Association Splitting, a novel intervention for obsessive-compulsive disorders, targets such dysfunctional networks. Aims: To adapt Association Splitting for the reduction of weight- and shape-related cognitions in students with high weight and shape concerns. Methods: Thirteen students with high weight and shape concerns were recruited and ten completed assessments before and after using the Association Splitting approach. Self-reported weight and shape concerns, eating behaviours and obsessive thinking were assessed. Changes between the two time points were analysed. Results: After using Association Splitting, participants reported lower weight and shape concerns, reduced drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction and lower levels of eating disorder-related behaviours. The technique was perceived as helpful by 70% of the participants. Conclusion: Association Splitting is a feasible approach to reducing weight and shape concerns and might be a useful addition to the treatment or prevention of eating disorders.
- Association splitting
- Attentional bias modification
- Eating disorders
- Weight concerns