Cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying the relationship between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and disordered eating behaviour

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Psychology


Disordered eating behaviour is a common comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Previous research has linked specific symptoms of ADHD (e.g. inattention, impulsivity) to specific types of disordered eating behaviour, and these relationships seem to be mediated through both negative mood and through attention to and reliance on internal cues of hunger and satiety. This PhD project will further investigate the mechanisms through which specific symptoms of ADHD lead to specific types of disordered eating. The project will first assess how inattention towards interoceptive cues of satiety/hunger may lead to disordered eating behaviour, through the completion of a systematic literature review and laboratory-based eating behaviour studies. The nature of the relationship between ADHD symptoms and disordered eating behaviour will then be assessed through the use of Lisdexamfetamine, a drug used in the treatment of both ADHD and binge eating disorder. This will allow the observation of the specific ADHD symptoms which are influenced by LDX, and how this effect may mediate the action of LDX on binge eating. The project will also assess the relationship between ADHD symptomatology and disordered eating behaviour in adolescents, which is of particular interest as ADHD symptomatology changes at this age and disordered eating patterns may emerge. This will be achieved through longitudinal collection of survey data, allowing the predictive modelling of which ADHD symptoms are most predictive of the development of disordered eating behaviour, which will be potentially useful in guiding development of preventative measures. A further laboratory-based eating behaviour study will assess the relationship between ADHD symptoms and disordered eating behaviour in adolescence, to observe how the longitudinal survey results are consistent with effects on ad libitum food intake.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1915105 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Elizabeth Martin
Description BBSRC MIBTP CASE studentship 
Organisation P1vital Consortium
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The research groups contributes student data and research findings to P1vital, as part of the supervisory role provided by the collaboration. In addition, during an industrial placement which is compulsory during the MIBTP studentship, the PhD student will contribute with analysing data and preparing presentations of this data for a project which is underway at P1vital.
Collaborator Contribution Colin Dourish (CEO of P1vital) provides a supervisory role throughout the PhD, particularly on studies involving his area of expertise (psychopharmacology). The MIBTP CASE involves an industrial placement for the PhD student, allowing the PhD student to learn research skills in non-academic organisations. After completion of the placement, a report is submitted to BBSRC by the PhD student to summarise the training experience, the novel expertise that has been learned, and new perspectives on the benefit of research collaborations.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2017
Description Online podcast covering PhD research topic 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lab members were interviewed about their research area (including this award), and this interview was posted on youtube as a podcast. The inbuilt view counter on youtube shows that over 30 people have watched the video.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019