Eating Disorders and Body Image (EDBI)
Publications | News & Events | Achievements
EDBI comprises researchers at Western with an active interest in eating disorders and body image. We come from varied disciplines and professional backgrounds including medicine, psychology, nursing, exercise science.
At EDBI, we are producing ground-breaking research in broad areas across the fields of eating disorders and body image, including in epidemiology, diagnostic classification, treatment trials, functional neuroimaging, visual perception, and health services use.
EDBI is also a vibrant training ground for up and coming researchers interested in this area.
Contact: Staff and students wanting to enquire about EDBI or who wish to join, please contact Deb at Deborah.Mitchison@westernsydney.edu.au or Phillipa at P.Hay@westernsydney.edu.au.
Phillipa Hay (opens in a new window)
Professor of Mental Health, THRI, School of Medicine
Primary interests: What works in treatments of eating disorders, distribution and determinants of eating disorders
Fiona Wright (opens in a new window)
Academic, Writing and Society Research Centre, School of Humanities & Communication Arts
Fiona Wright is a writer, editor, critic and researcher, whose work is interested in embodiment, identity, illness and place, and the interconnections between them. Her books include Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger and The World Was Whole, both of which centre on her experience living with a long-term eating disorder and chronic illness.
Janet Conti (opens in a new window)
Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Primary interests: Tailoring eating disorder treatment experiences, testing of under-researched treatment interventions for eating disorders
Rakime Elmir (opens in a new window)
Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery
Primary interests: Women’s experiences of eating disorders in the perinatal period
Nasim Faroughi (opens in a new window)
Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Emotional and neural responses to food images in eating disorders
Catharine Fleming (opens in a new window)
Lecturer in Public Health, School of Sciences and Health, THRI
Primary interests: Paediatric feeding behaviours associated with picky/fussy eating and possible long-term health outcomes from these behaviours that manifest in early adolescence and young adulthood
Alex Hawkey (opens in a new window)
Associate Research Fellow, THRI
Primary interests: Eating practices, embodiment and body image across the menstrual cycle and reproductive life stage
Haider Mannan (opens in a new window)
Senior Lecturer and Biostatistician, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Longitudinal statistical analysis of risk factors of various types of eating disorders, testing of under-researched treatment interventions for eating disorders, statistical approaches for comparison of eating disorders diagnostic schemes, testing of novel biomarkers of eating disorders
Deb Mitchison (opens in a new window)
NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Epidemiology of eating disorders and their symptoms, help-seeking, longitudinal analysis of risk factors and outcomes
Milan Piya (opens in a new window)
Senior Lecturer in Diabetes, THRI, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Eating Disorders in the Context of Severe Obesity
Lucie Ramjan (opens in a new window)
A/Prof, School of Nursing and Midwifery
Primary interests: Research into novel interventions to support recovery in eating disorders, such as peer mentor support programs
Evelyn Smith (opens in a new window)
Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Primary interests: Obesity and eating disorders comorbidity, schema therapy for eating disorders, executive function, trauma and obesity/eating disorders, eating disorders in males
Jane Ussher (opens in a new window)
Primary interests: Sexual and reproductive embodiment, including premenstrual body dissatisfaction, menopausal embodiment, and embodied experiences of sexuality and gender diverse women
PhD Candidate, Thesis: "Understanding and addressing the specific needs of parents/carers of an autistic child or adolescent with an eating disorder: a parent-based adjunct to standard child and adolescent eating disorder treatment."
Alumni, School of Medicine
Primary interests: eating disorders and related problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
PhD Candidate, Thesis: “To investigate the correlation between teasing used by primary carers with adolescents around food, body image and self-esteem and recidivism in adulthood weight loss.”
PhD Candidate, Thesis: “A clinical evaluation of residential treatment for eating disorders and the impact of trauma on treatment outcomes”
PhD candidate, Thesis: "Understanding disordered eating, body image, and eating disorders in athletes"
PhD candidate, School of Psychology, Thesis: "How Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa Navigate Changes in Identity Throughout Treatment and the Impact That These Identity Negotiations May Have on Overall Treatment Efficacy"
Tiffany Patterson Norrie
PhD Candidate, Thesis: “Developing a dietitian-led oral health program for individuals with an eating disorder – A mixed methods needs assessment”
PhD Candidate, Thesis: “Psychometric Development of a Novel Multidimensional Body Image Measure”
PhD Candidate, Thesis: "Patient and Carer Perception/satisfaction of Care and Lived Experience and Other Heath Care Provider’s Perception/ satisfaction with the First Residential Facility for the Treatment of Eating Disorders in Australia"
PhD Candidate, Thesis: "Investigating women’s subjective experiences of embodiment in the premenstrual phase of the cycle in the context of body dissatisfaction"
PhD Candidate, Thesis: "What is the role and value added of a dietitian in eating disorder treatment"
Western Adjunct Researchers
PhD Candidate, Thesis: “An examination of the role of eating appropriateness standards and dietary self-regulation in the obesity epidemic in Fiji”
Conjoint Lecturer, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Indigenous peoples' experiences of feeding and eating disorders, evaluating the cultural utility of mainstream assessment and treatment approaches, Indigenous recovery knowledge.
Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Enhancing the effectiveness of treatments for people with eating disorders across the age range and ED diagnostic spectrums; core principles in the treatment of eating disorders; eating disorders and trauma.
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Eating behaviour and nutrition in people with an eating disorder as well as the role of dietitians in the prevention and treatment of disordered eating
Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University; Director of ENRG (Eating disorders and Nutrition Research Group)
Primary interests: Supporting & evaluating best practice in dietetics and eating disorders; insulin misuse in type 1 diabetes; acute hospital management of eating disorders.
Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University; Accredited Practising Dietitian, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and Appetite for Change
Primary interests: Blood glucose and appetite regulation in eating disorders, the physiological effects of starvation and changes with refeeding; the role of the dietitian in eating disorder management
Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Refeeding syndrome; gastrointestinal function in eating disorders; acute hospital management of patients with eating disorders; patient, carer and staff experience through eating disorder treatment; physiological complications of starvation and changes during acute refeeding
Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Enhancing the evidence base for outpatient dietetic treatment for individuals with eating disorders, translation of evidence-based dietetic practice into real world clinical practice, improving collaboration between dietitians and members of multi-disciplinary eating disorder treatment teams
Adjunct Associate Professor
Primary interests: Assessment of body dissatisfaction and eating-disordered behaviour; health promotion and “health literacy” for eating-disordered behaviour and obesity; medicalisation of body weight, eating and exercise behaviour; biomedical vs social constructionist approaches to mental health problems
Primary interests: binge eating and weight management; diagnosis; subjective binge eating; psychological therapy
Conjoint Lecturer, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Addictive eating, the intersection of obesity and eating disorders, prevention of disordered eating in children, the role of the dietitian in eating disorder prevention and treatment.
Primary interests: bench to practice translational research, with a special interest in the psychological and neuropsychological mechanisms that underlie eating behaviours; development of internet-based interventions for those with eating disorders.
Research fellow, Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Primary interests: exploring relationships between diet and mental and gut health (eating and post-traumatic stress disorders)
Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Medicine, THRI
Primary interests: Disordered eating and its association with obesity and metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia
Adjunct Fellow, School of Social Sciences & Psychology, WSU; Eating Disorders Coordinator, South West Sydney Local Health District
Primary interests: body image disorders in adolescent populations, early intervention in atypical anorexia nervosa, treatment of adolescents with anorexia nervosa in community mental health teams
Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University; National Director of the National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC); Clinical Psychologist
Primary Interests: As the Director of NEDC, Dr Shelton oversees the synthesis of evidence, expertise and lived experience to develop national standards and workforce initiatives to support nationally consistent approaches to eating disorders. She is interested in the role of movement and embodied experience in evidence-based interventions for disordered eating and body image problems.
Conjoint Associate Lecturer, School of Medicine
Primary interests: Psychological mechanisms in adult obesity and weight management, eating disorders, trauma, and schema therapy in obesity.
Current Projects and Research Foci
Clinical Evaluation of Wandi Nerida (2021-2024) (Phillipa Hay, Deb Mitchison, Kathy Tannous, Janet Conti, Lucie Ramjan, Sinead Day, Rebekah Rankin)
This project is a partnership with the Butterfly Foundation and will evaluate the outcomes of Australia's first residential eating disorder program, Wandi Nerida. The evaluation is multidimensional and will focus not only on clinical and health economic outcomes, but on the experiences of clients, clinicians and family.
Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) and Behavioural Weight Loss (BWL) for Obesity (Evelyn Smith)
Randomized controlled trial comparing CRT to BWL in individuals with obesity.
EMPOWER (Lucie Ramjan)
A mEntor-Mentee Program fOr young people With Eating disoRders.
EveryBODY Study (Deb Mitchison, Phillipa Hay)
Funded by NHMRC and Ainsworth. Longitudinal investigation of risk factors and burden of eating disorders and associated body image disorders in 5000 Australian adolescents.
fMRI Study (Nasim Foroughi, Phillipa Hay)
Emotions and food study utilising fMRI.
HAPIFED (Phillipa Hay, Haider Mannan, Nasim Foroughi, Milan Piya)
- Funded by Ainsworth MRIF, $45,000
When the honeymoon is over: Investigating moderators and mediators of outcomes in an open trial of a novel psycho-behavioural treatment for relapse prevention and maintenance of weight loss.
Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders (Evelyn Smith)
A group intervention trial.
Schema Therapy for Obesity (Evelyn Smith)
An individual intervention trial.
Obesity and Eating Disorders Comorbidity in the Penrith Area (Evelyn Smith)
Investigation of eating disorders, obesity and trauma in 5000 adults living in Penrith.
The role of parental knowledge, market influences and use of ready-to-use squeezable complementary food pouches on dietary patterns and feeding behaviours in young children 0- 5 years (Catharine Fleming)
This is part of an overall research program that aims to reduce the early development of diet-related chronic disease through early foundation feeding interventions of knowledge, policy and practice in Australia. Specifically focusing on the investigation into the role of parental knowledge, influences and use of ready-to-use of squeezable complementary food pouches as a feeding option in young children.
TrEAT Study (Deb Mitchison, Phillipa Hay, Gabriella Heruc)
Ongoing clinical registry of clients attending eating disorder treatment clinics in Sydney and Perth. Aims are to facilitate research, evaluate government initiatives (e.g., MBS items), and provide quality assurance for the clinics.
Trauma and Obesity/Eating Disorders (Evelyn Smith)
Investigation of a broad range of traumatic experiences among people with eating disorders.
WEHL (Phillipa Hay, Nasim Foroughi)
A longitudinal investigation of women’s eating and health literacy.
Women’s experiences of eating disorders in the perinatal period (Rakime Elmir, Phillipa Hay)
Top Recent Publications
Fleming, C., Murphy-Alford, A., Cohen, J., Fleming, M., Wakefield, C., & Naumann, F. (2021). Poor diet quality and adverse eating behaviours in young survivors of childhood cancer. (opens in a new window) Pediatric Blood and Cancer.
Prnjak, K., Hay, P., Mond, J., Bussey, K., Trompeter, N., Lonergan, A., & Mitchison, D. (2021). The distinct role of body image aspects in predicting eating disorder onset in adolescents after one year. (opens in a new window) Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 130(3), 236–247.
Patterson-Norrie, T., Ramjan, L., Sousa, M.S. et al. (2020). Eating disorders and oral health: a scoping review on the role of dietitians. (opens in a new window) J Eat Disord 8, 49.
Aouad P, Hay P, Foroughi N, Cosh SM, Mannan H (2021). Associations between Defence-Style, Eating Disorder Symptoms, and Quality of Life in Community Sample of Women: A Longitudinal Exploratory Study. (opens in a new window) Frontiers in Psychology.
Holtzhausen N, Mannan H, Hay P (2020). Effects associated with the use of healthcare for eating disorders by women in the community: A longitudinal cohort study. (opens in a new window) BMJ Open 10: e033986.
Piya, M.K.; Chimoriya, R.; Yu, W.; Grudzinskas, K.; Myint, K.P.; Skelsey, K.; Kormas, N.; Hay, P. (2021). Improvement in Eating Disorder Risk and Psychological Health in People with Class 3 Obesity: Effects of a Multidisciplinary Weight Management Program. (opens in a new window) Nutrients, 13, 1425.
Ussher, J. M., & Perz, J. (2020). “I feel fat and ugly and hate myself”: Self-objectification through negative constructions of premenstrual embodiment. (opens in a new window) Feminism & Psychology, 30(2), 185-205.
Foroughi N, Donnelly B... Hay P. (2021). Neural Response to High and Low Energy Food Images in Anorexia Nervosa. (opens in a new window) Journal of OBM Neurobiology, 5(3).
Chandra S, Calvert F, Sui Z, & Raman J. (2021). Perceived barriers and enablers to healthy eating and physical activity in endoscopic bariatric patients: A qualitative study. (opens in a new window) Eating and Weight Disorders. Accepted Sept 2021.
Dahill, L.; Mitchison, D.; Morrison, N.; Touyz, S.; Bussey, K.; Trompeter, N.; Lonergan, A.; Hay, P. Prevalence of parental comments on weight/shape/eating amongst sons and daughters in an adolescent sample. (opens in a new window) Nutrients 2021, 13, 158.
Dahill, L.M., Touyz, S., Morrison, N.M.V., Hay, P. Parental appearance teasing in adolescence and associations with eating problems: a systematic review. (opens in a new window) BMC Public Health 21, 450 (2021).
Dale E, Conigrave KM, Kelly PJ, Ivers R, Clapham K, & Lee K (2021). A Delphi yarn: applying Indigenous knowledges to enhance the cultural utility of SMART Recovery Australia. (opens in a new window) Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 16(1), 1-15. This is the first study to combine an Indigenous research method with the Delphi technique to explore the cultural utility of mutual support group programmes for Indigenous Australians.
Hamilton A, Mitchison, D., Basten, C., Byrne, S., Goldstein, M., Hay, P., Heruc, G., Thornton, C., & Touyz, S. (2021) . Understanding treatment delay: Perceived barriers preventing treatment-seeking for eating disorders. (opens in a new window) Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 1-12.
Burt A, Mannan H, Hay P (2020). Prevalence of DSM-5 diagnostic threshold eating disorders and features amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (First Australians). (opens in a new window) BMC Psychiatry, 20-449.
McLean, S.A., Hurst, K., Smith, H., Shelton, B., Freeman, J., Goldstein, M., Jeffrey, S., & Heruc, G. (2020). Credentialing for eating disorder clinicians: A pathway for implementation of clinical practice standards. (opens in a new window) Journal of Eating Disorders, 8(62).
Hay P, Mitchison D. (2021). Urbanisation and eating disorders: A scoping review of studies from 2019-2020. (opens in a new window) Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 1;34(3):287-92.
Santomauro, D. F., Melen, S., Mitchison, D., Vos, T., Whiteford, H., & Ferrari, A. J. (2021). The hidden burden of eating disorders: an extension of estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. (opens in a new window) The Lancet Psychiatry, 8(4), 320-328.
Hay P, Ghabrial B, Mannan H, Conti J, Gonzalez-Chica D, Stocks N, Heriseanu A and Touyz S (2020). General practitioner and mental health care use in a community sample of people with Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder and other Eating Disorders. (opens in a new window) International Journal of Eating Disorders, 53(1): 61-68.
Heruc, G., Hurst, K., Casey, A., Fleming, K., Freeman, J., Fursland, A., ... & Wade, T. (2020). ANZAED eating disorder treatment principles and general clinical practice and training standards. (opens in a new window) Journal of eating disorders, 8(1), 1-9.
Heruc, G., Hart, S., Stiles, G., Fleming, K., Casey, A., Sutherland, F., ... & Hurst, K. (2020). ANZAED practice and training standards for dietitians providing eating disorder treatment. (opens in a new window) Journal of eating disorders, 8(1), 1-9.
Hurst, K., Heruc, G., Thornton, C., Freeman, J., Fursland, A., Knight, R., ... & Wade, T. (2020). ANZAED practice and training standards for mental health professionals providing eating disorder treatment. (opens in a new window) Journal of Eating Disorders, 8(1), 1-10.
Mitchison, D., Mond, J., Griffiths, S., Hay, P., et al. (2021). Prevalence of muscle dysmorphia in adolescents: findings from the EveryBODY study. (opens in a new window) Psychological Medicine, 1-8. 8.
Links & Resources
- ASTRA white paper (opens in a new window)
- ENRG: Eating disorders and Nutrition Research Group (opens in a new window)
News & Events
Catch Professor Phillipa Hay who was invited as guest panellist on the SBS educational program Insight in October, 2021. The topic was "emotional eating" (opens in a new window)
Congratulations to EDBI, Winner of the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence in Research (Interdisciplinary Group) Award!
2022 Member Highlights and Achievements
Congratulations to the following EDBI members for these outstanding achievements in 2021!
Eating disorders and Nutrition Research Group
ENRG: Eating disorders and Nutrition Research Group (opens in a new window)
ENRG is a collaboration of researchers with a record of accomplishment in nutrition-related research across the eating disorder continuum of care - from prevention and early intervention, to medical stabilisation and nutritional rehabilitation, to the normalising of eating patterns and behaviours.
ASPIRE: Addressing Sporting Pressures on athletes’ body Image and Relationships with Eating and exercise (opens in a new window)
We aim to better understand the pressures elite athletes experience in relation to their body, eating, and exercise, whilst aiming for optimal performance. We hope to help athletes ASPIRE to rise above these challenges and achieve their ideal balance between performance and health. Find out more & participate this study.