The application of a cognitive defusion technique to negative body image thoughts: A preliminary analogue investigation

Author(s):

Amar Mandavia, Akihiko Masuda, Makeda Moore, Hadrian Mendoza, Matthew R. Donati, Lindsey L. Cohen

Abstract:

The purpose of the current analogue experiment was to investigate the impact of a cognitive defusion strategy, rapid vocal repitition, on self-identified negative body image thoughts. Undergraduate students (N=254) were randomized to one of five protocols: defusion condition with an experiential exercise for a self-identified negative body image thought, defusion without such an experiential exercise, distraction with an experiential exercise with the target thought, distraction without such an experiential exercise, and an experimental control task. At post-intervention, the defusion condition with an experiential exercise with the target negative body image thought showed significantly lower discomfort associated with that thought than distraction conditions and experimental control group, and this condition demonstrated grater decentering than the distraction condition without experiential exercise and the control group. The defusion condition with the experiential exercise with the target thought also demonstrated a greater reduction in the believability than the other four conditions. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of including rapid vocation repetition of a target body image thought when trying to change the discomfort, believability, and decentering associated with that thought.

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