BEWT conducts clinical research examining psychological aspects of feeding, eating, weight and body image.

Body Image and Eating Disorder Recovery Service (BETRS)

Researchers: Leah Brennan, Sarah Mitchell, and Jake Linardon

The BEWT team is currently conducting research on demographic and psychosocial predictors of quality of life and disability in individuals with eating disorders who sought day patient treatment at the Body Image and Eating Disorders Recovery Service at St Vincent’s Hospital. Given that eating disorders are debilitating conditions that profoundly impacts an individual’s quality of life and psychosocial functioning, it is critical to identify to modifiable risk or protective factors for quality of life impairment so that early intervention can be set in place. This research will ideally inform clinicians on what factors to address early on in treatment so that quality of life impairment and disability is minimised in individuals with eating disorders.

Cognitive-behavioural theory and treatment for disordered eating: exploring mechanisms of action

Researchers: Jake Linardon, Xochitl De la Piedad Garcia, Leah Brennan

The overall aim of this research project is to identify the mechanisms through which cognitive-behavioural therapy for eating disorders work. Four individual studies were carried out to achieve this aim. Two systematic reviews were completed, each synthesising the literature on (a) the mechanisms by which CBT for eating disorders exerts its effects and (b) who is most likely to benefit from cognitive-behavioural treatments. The third study comprised a validation of the cognitive-behavioural theory of eating disorders using structural equation modelling. Finally, a randomised controlled trial is currently running whereby we are comparing CBT guided self-help with health at every size guided self-help for men and women with subthreshold disordered eating. The intention is of this study is to (a) determine their relative efficacy and (b) identify mediators of change.

Post-surgical predictors of successful weight and quality of life outcomes in laparosopic adjustable gastric branding (LAGB)

Researchers: Annemarie Hindle, Xochitl de la Piedad Garcia, Leah Brennan

The aim of this project is to determine the extent to which early post-surgical psychosocial and behavioural variables are able to predict successful and non-successful outcomes in laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB). Early identification of patients who are likely to have poor outcomes would permit early and intensive behavioural and psychological intervention to occur. This would allow patients the best opportunity to adjust to the changes required for success. In addition to a systematic literature review of quantitative research and a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies, this project includes two prospective studies examining a range of post-operative variables and their relationship to later outcome.

The first study examines how changes in eating related experiences between surgery and 12 months (eg hunger, eating self-efficacy, emotional eating, binge eating behaviours) may impact later weight trajectory.

The second study considers the experiences of hunger and satiety immediately after surgery and across the first year. This study will examine psychosocial variables that may explain variability in hunger and satiety sensations across patients and the impact this has on weight loss and quality of life outcomes.

Behavioural Family Intervention for Parents of Children with Mealtime Difficulties

Researchers: Anna Benincasa & Leah Brennan

The current study will examine the efficacy, acceptability, and cost effectiveness of a behavioural family intervention based on Satter’s feeding model for parents of children with mealtime difficulties. The research project will compare a clinician-led and a self-guided version of an intervention based on Satter’s feeding model. The study will inform the future development of programs for parents of children with mealtime difficulties based on an empirically-tested feeding model.

For more information about participating in this study, please contact the Body Image, Eating and Weight Clinical Research Team:
03 9953 3100


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