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Social perception in people with eating disorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 April 2020

B. Renwick*
Affiliation:
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, London, United Kingdom
H. Dejong
Affiliation:
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, London, United Kingdom
M. Kenyon
Affiliation:
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, London, United Kingdom
N. Samarawickrema
Affiliation:
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, London, United Kingdom
R. Loomes
Affiliation:
The Warneford Hospital, Cotswold House, Oxford Adult Eating Disorder Service, London, United Kingdom
C. Watson
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Network, North London Hub, London, United Kingdom
S. Ghelani
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Network, North London Hub, London, United Kingdom
U. Schmidt
Affiliation:
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, London, United Kingdom
*Corresponding
*Corresponding author. P059, Section of Eating Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom. Tel.: +44 2078 485 608. E-mail address:Bethany.renwick@kcl.ac.uk (B. Renwick).
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Abstract

Objective

Social perception is a key aspect of social cognition which has so far not been investigated in eating disorders (ED). This study aimed to investigate social perception in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).

Methods

Outpatients with AN (restricting subtype [AN-R]: n = 51; binge-purge subtype [AN-BP]: n = 26) or BN (n = 57) and 50 healthy control (HC) participants completed the Interpersonal Perception Task (IPT-15). This is an ecologically valid task, which consists of 15 video clips, depicting complex social situations relating to intimacy, status, kinship, competition and deception. The participants have to assess relationships between protagonists’ based on non-verbal cues.

Results

Overall, there was no difference between groups on the IPT total score and subscale scores. Group differences on the Intimacy subscale approached significance so post hoc comparisons were carried out. HCs performed significantly better than AN-R participants in determining the degree of intimacy between others.

Conclusions

Social perception is largely preserved in ED patients. Individuals with AN-R show impairments in identifying intimacy in social situations, this may be due to the lack of relationship experience. Further research into different aspects of social cognition is required to establish the link between interpersonal difficulties and ED psychopathology.

Type
Original article
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association

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