Body checking and body avoidance in eating disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Alexandra Nikodijevic, Kimberly Buck, Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Tara de Paoli, Isabel Krug

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This review sought to systematically review and quantify the evidence related to body checking and body avoidance in eating disorders (EDs) to gauge the size of effects, as well as examine potential differences between clinical and nonclinical populations, and between different ED subtypes. PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycEXTRA, Cochrane Library, and MEDLINE databases were searched for academic literature published until October 2017. A grey literature search was also conducted. Fifty-two studies were identified for the systematic review, of which 34 were eligible for meta-analysis. Only female samples were included in the meta-analysis. ED cases experienced significantly higher body checking (d = 1.26, p <.001) and body avoidance (d = 1.88, p <.001) overall relative to healthy controls, but neither behaviour varied by ED subtype. In nonclinical samples, body checking (r =.60) and body avoidance (r =.56) were significantly correlated with ED pathology (p <.001). These findings support transdiagnostic theoretical models and approaches to ED treatment and early intervention programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-185
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • body avoidance
  • body checking
  • eating disorders
  • eating pathology

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