The relationship between body dissatisfaction and attentional bias to thin bodies in Malaysian Chinese and White Australian women: a dot probe study

T. House*, H. K. Wong, N. W. Samuel, I. D. Stephen, K. R. Brooks, H. Bould, A. S. Attwood, I. S. Penton-Voak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Studies suggest that an attentional bias to thin bodies is common among those with high levels of body dissatisfaction, which is a risk factor for, and symptom of, various eating disorders. However, these studies have predominantly been conducted in Western countries with body stimuli involving images of White people. In a preregistered study, we recruited 150 Malaysian Chinese women and 150 White Australian women for a study using standardized images of East Asian and White Australian bodies. To measure attentional bias to thin bodies, participants completed a dot probe task which presented images of women who self-identified their ethnicity as East Asian or as White Australian. Contrary to previous findings, we found no evidence for an association between body dissatisfaction and attentional bias to thin bodies. This lack of association was not affected by participant ethnicity (Malaysian Chinese versus White Australian) or ethnic congruency between participants and body stimuli (own-ethnicity versus other-ethnicity). However, the internal consistency of the dot probe task was poor. These results suggest that either the relationship between body dissatisfaction and attentional bias to thin bodies is not robust, or the dot probe task may not be a reliable measure of attentional bias to body size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number230674
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. 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.

Keywords

  • attention
  • attentional bias
  • body dissatisfaction
  • body size
  • dot probe

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