• The origins of disordered eating and childhood food neophobia: Applying an anxiety perspective.

      Maratos, Frances A.; Sharpe, Emma; University of Derby (Woodhead Publishing, 2018-01-04)
      A plethora of research now demonstrates that processes of visual attention towards certain stimuli (particularly threat) influences vulnerability to, and the maintenance of, anxiety disorders. Here parallels can be drawn with food neophobia and the eating disorder literature. As such, the application of knowledge from anxiety research may prove useful in increasing our understanding of food neophobia (and disordered eating more generally). In this chapter, we first present a review of the main components of attentional bias, before demonstrating that similar processes of visual attention (i.e. facilitated engagement, delayed disengagement and/or avoidance) are apparent within both adult and child (disordered) eating. These biases, as with anxiety disorders, could potentially exacerbate the specific eating condition. We also briefly review evidence concerning the effectiveness of attentional training in treating anxiety disorders, and suggest that such therapies may be applicable in the treatment of disordered eating/childhood food neophobia. Thus, we hope our work inspires further investigation of the usefulness of an anxiety-disordered approach when considering future research in this area.