Less food for thought : impact of attentional instructions on intrusive thoughts about snack foods

May, Jon, Andrade, Jackie, Helen, Batey, Lisa-Marie, Barry, & Kavanagh, David J. (2010) Less food for thought : impact of attentional instructions on intrusive thoughts about snack foods. Appetite, 55(2), pp. 279-287.

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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 10 min 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.

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20 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 39582
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Craving, Imagery, Mindfulness, Acceptance, Body Scan, Breath Focus, Intervention, Obesity
DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.06.014
ISSN: 0195-6663
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PAEDIATRICS AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE (111400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
Deposited On: 20 Jan 2011 22:58
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:20

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