The Implicit Association of High-Fat Food and Shame Among Women Recovered From Eating Disorders

Roni Elran-Barak, Tzipi Dror, Andrea B. Goldschmidt, Bethany A. Teachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite the growing literature about recovery from eating disorders (EDs), it is still unknown if women who report being recovered from EDs present with differing implicit attitudes about high-fat (vs. low-fat) food relative to women who report having a current ED and women who report never having had an ED. Methods: Female volunteers (N = 2,785) to the Project Implicit Mental Health (PIMH) website ( were divided into three ED groups: current ED (n = 335), prior ED (n = 393), and healthy controls (n = 1,843). Participants completed, between 2016 and 2017, a background questionnaire, together with the Implicit Association Test (IAT), measuring implicit associations between high-fat (vs. low-fat) food and shame (vs. acceptableness). Linear regression models were conducted to examine cross-sectional differences between groups. Results: Women with prior EDs had stronger implicit associations relative to healthy controls (p = 0.041) and similar implicit associations relative to women with current EDs (p = 0.424). Discussion: The implicit association between high-fat food and shame may not diminish over time among women with EDs. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to clarify whether an experience of EDs may leave a “scar,” manifested in specific implicit associations, that may potentially lead to recurrence after remission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1068
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Elran-Barak, Dror, Goldschmidt and Teachman.


  • EAT-26
  • eating disorders
  • high-fat food
  • implicit association
  • recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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