Cognitive Defusion as Strategy to Reduce the Intensity of Craving Episodes and Improve Eating Behavior
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Cambridge University Press
Cognitive defusionFood cravingMindfulnessSmartphone application
Hinojosa-Aguayo, I., & González, F. (2022). Cognitive defusion as strategy to reduce the intensity of craving episodes and improve eating behavior. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 25. e1. Doi:[10.1017/SJP.2021.47]
SponsorshipSpanish Government PSI2015-64345-R; AEI/FEDER, UE PGC2018-096438-B-I00
The elaborated intrusion theory of desire proposes that craving is a cognitive motivational process involving intrusive thoughts. Changing the way we react to them, cognitive defusion (CD), should limit thought elaboration and craving.Weinduced chocolate craving in female chocolate cravers before CD(Study 1).Adecrease in craving measured by a single-item scale, Visual Analogical Scale (VAS; p < .001, ηp 2 = .449) and as a state, State Food Craving Questionnaire (FCQ-S; p = .029, ηp 2 = .106) were found in the experimental group, while similar results were also found in group control. The reduction in craving (VAS) in group CD correlated negatively with chocolate consumption on a bogus taste test (r = –.439, p = .036), while the correlation was positive in the case of group control (r = .429, p = .047). Food craving as a trait, measured by the Trait Food Craving Questionnaire (FCQ-T), showed negative correlations with measures of CD and mindfulness skills (lowest r = –.313, p = .018). In Study 2 participants made use of a smartphone application implementing the CD procedure in real contexts whenever they experienced food craving. A corresponding decline in self-reported craving was found, as well as in consumption of the craved food (indulgence) compared with the control condition. Our findings indicate that CD may be a promising intervention for tackling the elaboration of intrusive thoughts and eating behavior in young female food cravers, both in a controlled laboratory environment after a cue-food exposure craving induction procedure, as well as responding to naturally occurring food cravings in real-life settings.