Size Overestimation Among Anorexics: Much Ado About Very Little?

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actual body size, estimated body size, anorexic 17–45 yr old females

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Research on size overestimation among anorexics has failed to control for the effects of actual body size on estimated size. We obtained estimates of the size of 3 body sites from 3 groups: 13 anorexic women; 13 non-eating disordered women matched with the anorexics on actual body size; and 13 non-eating disordered women of average size. The anorexic and size-matched normal Ss did not differ in the extent to which they overestimated their body size, but both displayed significantly greater overestimation than did the Ss of average size. Both groups also estimated the actual size of their body sites to be larger than did average-size normal Ss. These findings illustrate the need for appropriate control procedures when considering body image disturbances among persons with eating disorders, and they raise questions about the psychological significance of disturbances in the perceptual component of body image.

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology, v. 100, issue 1, p. 90-93