Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) A systematic review examining whether compassion focused therapy interventions are associated with changes in the theoretical components of the model: the threat, soothing and drive systems; 2) Service Improvement Project: Reflective practice is key to promoting psychologically informed care. Are there ways in which reflective practice could be better integrated in recovery team working?; 3) Main research project: Examining the links between eating disorders and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Holly Panting

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Objectives: Research indicates that people with eating disorders (ED) are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than the general population. However, the links between ED and IBS are not well understood. Cognitions are likely to be important in understanding these links, but studies have not yet examined specific cognitions which may make people with ED more vulnerable to developing IBS. This study aimed to examine the links between ED and IBS, to develop understanding in this area. The role of specific beliefs, and related behaviours, which we hypothesised might link ED and IBS were examined. Additionally, perfectionism was examined as it was hypothesised to possibly be associated in the links between ED and IBS. Methods: A cross-sectional, between-group questionnaire design compared four groups of women, who have: (i) ED, (ii) IBS, (iii) both ED and IBS (ED/IBS), and (iv) neither condition (healthy controls). Questionnaires assessed ED psychopathology, IBS symptoms, specific IBS-related beliefs and behaviours, and perfectionism. Results: 77% of women with ED met diagnostic criteria for IBS, and the ED group had significantly more IBS symptoms than healthy women. The ED/IBS group had significantly more IBS-related cognitions and behaviours than women with ED (no IBS) and healthy women, but not significantly different to women with IBS. There were no clear group differences for perfectionism. Conclusions: This study found a high prevalence of IBS in women with ED, in line with previous studies findings. Perfectionism doesn’t appear to be associated with the links between ED and IBS. We conclude that the links between ED and IBS may, in part, lie in cognitions, and subsequent behaviours, and this requires replication and further research.
Date of Award3 Sept 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPaul Salkovskis (Supervisor), Emma Griffith (Supervisor) & Elizabeth Marks (Supervisor)

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