The mediating role of rumination in the relation between attentional bias towards thin female bodies and eating disorder symptomatology

Laura Dondzilo*, Elizabeth Rieger, Romina Palermo, Susan Byrne, Jason Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)
    9 Downloads (Pure)


    The present study sought to investigate the association between selective attentional processing of body images, rumination, and eating disorder symptoms in young women. Seventy-three undergraduate female students (ages 17-24) completed a modified dot-probe task to assess whether young women showed a differential attentional bias pattern towards thin and non-thin female bodies. Participants also completed self-report measures of eating disorder pathology. It was found that increased reports of dietary restraint and body dissatisfaction were associated with both greater attentional bias towards thin bodies and avoidance of non-thin bodies (as compared to neutral images), although the former relationship was stronger than the latter. The results suggest attentional vigilance to thin-ideal images plays a greater role in the potential development and/or maintenance of eating disorder symptoms, at least in a university sample of young women. Results also revealed that eating disorder-specific rumination mediated the relationship between attentional bias to thin ideal images and eating disorder symptoms. These findings build on existing research and theories, for example the impaired disengagement model of rumination, and have potential clinical applications such as specifically targeting ruminative and/or attentional processes in the prevention and/or treatment of eating disorder symptoms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0177870
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2017

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    Dive into the research topics of 'The mediating role of rumination in the relation between attentional bias towards thin female bodies and eating disorder symptomatology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this