Patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) have been shown to display both elevated anxiety and attentional biases in threat processing. In this study, we compared threat-related attention patterns of patients with AN restricting type (AN-R; n = 32), AN binge/purge type (AN-B/P; n = 23), and healthy controls (n = 19). A dot-probe task with either eating disorder-related or general and social anxiety-related words was used to measure attention patterns. Severity of eating disorder symptoms, depression, anxiety, and stress were also assessed. Patients with AN-R showed vigilance to both types of threat words, whereas patients with AN-B/P showed avoidance of both threat types. Healthy control participants did not show any attention bias. Attention bias was not associated with any of the demographic, clinical, and psychometric parameters introduced. These findings suggest that there are differential patterns of attention allocation in patients with AN-R and AN-B/P. More research is needed to identify what causes/underlies these differential patterns.
- anorexia nervosa
- attention bias