I am a clinical psychologist by training and am interested in the individual and societal impact of disordered eating (principally, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder). These illnesses are characterised by disturbances in eating behaviour and are associated with high levels of functional impairment and comorbidity with other mental disorders.
Young adults aged 18 – 25 represent a high-risk category for eating disorders, and the traditional undergraduate years coincide with the median age of onset for these illnesses (Lipson & Sonneville, 2017). Furthermore, around 8 in 10 female high school and university students say that they want to lose weight (e.g., Vohs, Heatherton, & Herrin, 2001), with significant rates also seen in in males (e.g., O’Dea & Abraham, 2002). It has been argued that university students have unique problems in accessing treatment and, in common with the majority of those with mental health problems, often experience symptoms for many years without receiving professional support.
University populations therefore present a number of opportunities both to prevent worsening of eating disorders and to encourage treatment-seeking given the common reluctance to access help. I am interested in evaluating treatment approaches as well as considering the societal impact (e.g., health economics) of eating disorders. Principally, it is my hope that effective treatments will get to individuals earlier than at present.
How to get involved
I would be interested to work with postgraduate students (MSc or PhD candidates) who wish to conduct research into disordered eating in university samples. I would also be happy to collaborate with other researchers on projects in eating disorders, particularly around treatment, help-seeking, and health economics.
Paul Jenkins: email@example.com
Lipson, S. K., & Sonneville, K. R. (2017). Eating disorder symptoms among undergraduate and graduate students at 12 U.S. colleges and universities. Eating Behaviors, 24, 81-88.
O’Dea, J. A., & Abraham, S. (2002). Eating and exercise disorders in young college men. Journal of American College Health, 50, 273-278.
Vohs, K. D., Heatherton, T. F., & Herrin, M. (2001). Disordered eating and the transition to college: A prospective study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29, 280-288
We are using this blog to help connect stakeholders across Higher Education interested in student mental health. If you have a project you are working on or an idea you'd like to develop, why not write your own blog post for us?