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Research

Research in the PEAR lab is broadly focused on identifying biological, psychological, and social processes (e.g., reward, emotion regulation and reactivity, weight suppression) that underlie the development and maintenance of eating disorders. We also are interested in identifying processes related to co-morbidity in eating disorders, particularly, factors associated with the high risk for self-harm and suicidal behaviors in this population.

Some overarching questions we aim to address with our research are:

  • What makes some individuals (but not others) vulnerable to develop eating disorder symptoms in response to pervasive psychosocial risks?

  • What adolescent-specific factors contribute to risk for eating disorders during this vulnerable period of development? 

  • How do weight-related factors (e.g., significant weight loss) and feeding or stress-related hormones influence vulnerability to over- and under-eating?

  • Why are individuals with eating disorders at increased risk for non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal thoughts and behaviors?