Measurement of inhibitory control and attentional bias to disorder specific stimuli in individuals with eating disorders: the use of emotional Go/No-Go task
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Impaired inhibitory control and attentional bias related to disorder specific stimuli, i.e. body and food, could have a potential role in the development and maintenance of eating disorders (ED). We aimed to measure inhibitory control and attentional bias to body and food related stimuli by using emotional Go/No-Go task in individuals with ED compared to psychiatrically controlled healthy individuals (HC) and psychiatric controls, and test whether inhibitory control and attentional bias in individuals with ED are related to ED specific stimuli. ED specific emotional Go/No-Go task, clinical interview and self-report questionnaires were administered to 87 women (with mean age±SD of 23.0±6.4), of whom 19 were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa restrictive (AN-R) subtype, 17 with bulimia nervosa binge/purge (BN-BP) subtype, 15 with major depression, 17 with comorbid mood, anxiety and substance use disorders, and 19 were HC. We found that individuals with AN-R and BN-BP were significantly slower in reaction times (RTs) for body related stimuli compared to HC. There were no significant differences in RTs for food related stimuli between the groups. However, duration of illness had a moderating effect on RTs for food stimuli in individuals with ED. Moreover, individuals with BN-BP made significantly more commission and omission errors to body and food related stimuli compared to individuals with AN-R. Our results indicate that emotional Go/No-Go task could be a valid measure to assess inhibitory control and attentional bias to ED related stimuli, however, primarily based on the commission and omission errors rather than RTs.
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