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 (https://implicit.harvard.edu/) 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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Elran-Barak, Dror, Goldschmidt and Teachman.
- eating disorders
- high-fat food
- implicit association
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (all)