Visual mapping of body image disturbance in anorexia nervosa reveals objective markers of illness severity

Christina Ralph-Nearman, Armen C. Arevian, Scott Moseman, Megan Sinik, Sheridan Chappelle, Jamie D. Feusner, Sahib S. Khalsa
2021 Scientific Reports  
AbstractBody image disturbance (BID) is a core feature of eating disorders, for which there are few objective markers. We examined the feasibility of a novel digital tool, "Somatomap", to index BID related to anorexia nervosa (AN) severity. Fifty-five AN inpatients and 55 healthy comparisons (HC) outlined their body concerns on a 2-Dimensional avatar. Next, they indicated sizes/shapes of body parts for their current and ideal body using sliders on a 3-Dimensional avatar. Physical measurements
more » ... corresponding body parts, in cm, were collected for reference. We evaluated regional differences in BID using proportional z-scores to generate statistical body maps, and multivariate analysis of covariance to assess perceptual discrepancies for current body, ideal body, and body dissatisfaction. The AN group demonstrated greater regional perceptual inaccuracy for their current body than HC, greater discrepancies between their current and ideal body, and higher body dissatisfaction than HCs. AN body concerns localized disproportionately to the chest and lower abdomen. The number of body concerns and perceptual inaccuracy for individual body parts was strongly associated with Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (Global EDE-Q) scores across both groups. Somatomap demonstrated feasibility to capture multidimensional aspects of BID. Several implicit measures were significantly associated with illness severity, suggesting potential utility for identifying objective BID markers.
doi:10.1038/s41598-021-90739-w pmid:34112818 fatcat:chqv3escengjdayurynvyietp4