Predictors of childhood emotional under-eating.

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Psychology


The emergence of anorexia nervosa (AN) is of particular concern due to reports suggesting a 12-fold mortality rate increase for females aged 15-24 diagnosed with AN compared to other eating disorders (Arcelus et al., 2011).I am proposing a line of research that aims to understand the neural mechanisms of AN and identify risk factors that can be targeted by treatment or prevention programmes. The study of attention in AN is often linked to the obsessive-compulsive traits observed, which are a result of processing styles such as set shifting and central coherence (Whitney & Eisler, 2005). Weak central coherence is a fixation on local details and the inability to integrate those details globally (Van Autreve et al., 2013). Specific impairments in global processing combined with superior local processing in individuals diagnosed with AN have been found (Lang et al., 2014). This may implicate weak central coherence as a risk or maintenance factor involved in the attentional bias and obsessive-compulsive trait mechanism observed. Set shifting, or executive attention, is the ability to flexibly shift attention between multiple tasks or mental states (Miyake et al 2000). Impairments in the executive attention system thus result in preseveration of thoughts or ideas surrounding food and weight loss. Moreover, impairments in set shifting have been observed in individuals who have recovered from AN, (Roberts et al., 2010) suggesting individual differences in set shifting may indicate a risk or maintenance factor involved in the obsessive-compulsive trait mechanism.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1942485 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Kai Stephen Thomas
Description School Research Partnership Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The event aimed to introduce the idea of a Cardiff University Centre for Human Developmental Science - School research partnership, in which schools take part in research studies and in return are kept informed of the latest research developments in CUCHDS, as well as receiving free training/talks from CUCHDS staff during teacher training days at their schools.

The event was aimed at school staff (headteachers, teachers, learning support staff, teaching assistants) from the local area. The aim was to showcase the research currently taking place at CUCHDS and to engage schools in participating in future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019