The effects of social comparison and disgust on evaluating appearance related stimuli in body dysmorphia
Appearance-related and social-evaluative concerns are central to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Individuals with BDD attend to and process this information in biased ways. Social comparison is one of the most frequent triggers of intrusive appearance-related imagery in individuals with body dysmorphic concern. Social comparisons lead to increased self-focused attention, negative self-evaluation, excessive rumination, and safety-seeking and avoidance behaviors. Appearance-related imagery results in negative self-evaluations and is associated with feelings of disgust. However, as BDD is an under researched area, the role of social comparison and disgust in body dysmorphic concern warrants further investigation. This current study examined the impact of exposure to social comparison and disgust images on implicit attitudes about appearance. In this study, 18 participants completed two Implicit Association Tasks (IATs) and symptom measures assessing body dysmorphic concern, social comparison, disgust sensitivity, self-disgust, and social anxiety. The first IAT assessed implicit attitudes about appearance after viewing social comparison stimuli. The second IAT assessed the impact of exposure to disgust images prior to viewing social comparison stimuli on implicit attitudes about appearance. Results indicated that implicit attitudes about appearance were not associated with explicit symptom measures of body dysmorphic concern, social comparison, disgust sensitivity, and self-disgust. However, associations among explicit symptom measures were supported. Additionally, results of regression analyses demonstrated that implicit attitudes about appearance did not significantly predict levels of body dysmorphic concern. Lastly, there were no significant differences on measures of implicit attitudes between the two IATs. Construction of the IAT design and its implications on the findings are discussed. Recommendations for future research are made.
Mancusi, Lauren M, "The effects of social comparison and disgust on evaluating appearance related stimuli in body dysmorphia" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI1601601.