The role of social, sensory and cognitive factors in restrictive eating

Posted 18/11/2020

Synopsis

This online study aims to assess social, cognitive and sensory factors in developing restrictive eating disorders (REDs), e.g. Anorexia, by comparing women with REDs without an Autism diagnosis, autistic women with REDs, and autistic women without a RED.

Names of main contacts

Janina Brede, UCL, Janina.brede@ucl.ac.uk
Charli Babb, Cardiff University, babbc@cardiff.ac.uk

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of this study is to look at variation in how women with restrictive eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa, communicate and interact with others, how they think about themselves and the world around them, and the impact this has on their eating disorder presentation. There is a lack of research into eating difficulties in women with specific social communication and thinking profiles, for example those who might receive a diagnosis of autism, which means that eating disorder services often do not have enough understanding and treatment options for these individuals.

Our aim is to learn more about specific mechanisms underlying restrictive eating difficulties in different individuals. We will include women with restrictive eating disorders who are not autistic, as well as autistic women with restrictive eating disorders, and autistic women who do not have an eating disorder. We hope this research will help eating disorders services to become more accessible and beneficial for individuals with a variety of different presentations. 

Who can take part?

This research study is looking for:

  • Women (over the age of 18 years) who are diagnosed and currently living with Anorexia Nervosa, Atypical Anorexia, or Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). 
  • Women (over the age of 18 years) who are diagnosed and currently living with Anorexia Nervosa, Atypical Anorexia, or Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and who are formally diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition (including autism spectrum disorder, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, high functioning autism, and pervasive developmental disorder)

What does the study involve?

If you decide to take part in the research study, you will be asked to complete an online survey with some background questions, a computerised task and a variety of questionnaires. The survey includes some questions about your weight, but you do not have to answer any questions that you do not feel comfortable answering. The computer-based task would involve being presented with computer-generated illustrations of different body types. Some individuals may find this uncomfortable and you do not have to complete this if you do not want to.

All together it should take around 45-60 minutes to complete the survey. You will be offered a £15 voucher to thank you for your time.

You would contribute to research that hopes to inform future research and clinical practice so that eating disorders services better support individuals with a variety of different presentations. 

How can someone take part?

If you are interested in taking part or would like more information, please contact Charli Babb (babbc@cardiff.ac.uk) or Janina Brede (janina.brede@ucl.ac.uk).