External Eating as a Predictor of Cue-reactivity to Food-related Virtual Environments

Marta Ferrer-Garcia, José Gutiérrez-Maldonado, Joana Pla-Sanjuanelo, Ferran Vilalta-Abella, Alexis Andreu-Gracia, Antonios Dakanalis, Fernando Fernandez-Aranda, Adela Fusté-Escolano, Joan Ribas-Sabaté, Giuseppe Riva, Carmina Saldaña, Isabel Sánchez

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

11 Citazioni (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to assess the association between external eating style and food craving experienced during exposure to food cues in virtual reality (VR) environments in both clinical and non-clinical samples. According to the externality theory, people with external eating experience higher reactivity when exposed to food cues, which in turn increases the probability of overeating. Forty patients with eating disorders (23 with bulimia nervosa and 17 with binge eating disorder) and 78 undergraduate students were exposed to 10 different food cues in four VR environments (kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and café). After 30 seconds of exposure to each VR environment, food craving was assessed using a visual analog scale. External, emotional and restrictive eating styles were also assessed using the DEBQ. The results showed a strong association between external eating and cue-elicited food craving. After controlling for the presence of eating disorder diagnosis, external eating was the best predictor of reported food craving. The results lend support to the externality theory but highlight the need for further research in specific patterns of functioning in patients with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)117-122
Numero di pagine6
RivistaAnnual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015


  • virtual reality, eating disorders, binge eating


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