Our work examines how biological, psychological, and sociocultural risk and maintenance factors intersect to influence eating disorders and their symptoms in community and clinical populations. We seek to identify mechanisms that are both shared with other psychological disorders (e.g., major depression; substance use disorders) and those that are specific to eating disorders and/or particular eating disorder symptoms.
Questions we investigate....
Do well-established psychological risk factors (dieting, emotion regulation) intersect with genetic risk to predict binge eating?
Do individuals with disordered eating have difficulty regulating emotions, as assessed via self-report and psychophysiological indices?
What factors explain why some people with a tendency to act impulsively when upset develop binge eating while others develop a different problem (alcohol abuse, self-injury)?
Methods we use...
The BEEP lab uses multiple research methods to test integrative theories of the development and maintenance of eating disorders. This includes:
Examining genetic, psychological, and environmental risk factors using cross-sectional and longitudinal twin modeling
Objectively assessing behavioural and emotional correlates using neurocognitive tasks and psychophysiological markers
Considering proximal and distal risk factors via ecological momentary assessment and prospective designs