ORCID

Abstract

Intrusive thoughts about food may play a role in unhealthy eating behaviours. Food-related thoughts that capture attention can lead to craving and further intrusive thoughts (Kavanagh, Andrade, & May, 2005). We tested whether diverting attention to mental images or bodily sensations would reduce the incidence of intrusive thoughts about snack foods. In two experiments, participants reported their thoughts in response to probes during three 10min periods. In the Baseline and Post-task period, participants were asked to let their mind wander. In the middle, Experimental, period, participants followed mind wandering (Control), thought diversion, or Thought Suppression instructions. Self-directed or Guided Imagery, Mindfulness-based Body Scanning, and Thought Suppression all reduced the proportion of thoughts about food, compared to Baseline. Following Body Scanning and Thought Suppression, food thoughts returned to Baseline frequencies Post-task, rather than rebounding. There were no effects of the interventions upon craving, although overall, craving and thought frequency were correlated. Thought control tasks may help people to ignore thoughts about food and thereby reduce their temptation to snack.

DOI

10.1016/j.appet.2010.06.014

Publication Date

2010-10-01

Publication Title

Appetite

Volume

55

Issue

2

First Page

279

Last Page

287

ISSN

0195-6663

Organisational Unit

School of Psychology

Keywords

Attention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Disclosure, Eating, Female, Humans, Imagery, Psychotherapy, Male, Taste Perception, Young Adult

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