Eating disorders

Mental health

At a glance

Identifying risk for eating disorders

Lead researcher

Dr Sylvane Desrivières


King's College London



Amount awarded


Last updated



Project title: Establishing causal relationships between biopsychosocial predictors and correlates of eating disorders and their mediation by neural pathways.

Dr Sylvane Desrivières from King’s College London has been awarded a research grant, in order to build on her previous Medical Research Foundation-MRC funded study. She aims to identify true risk factors for eating disorders and understand how they contribute to the development of the specific aspects of the disorders, including behaviours related to reward and punishment, cognitive control and emotional processes.

Identifying risk factors for eating disorders and understanding how they contribute to the disorder will be crucial for improving prevention and treatment.

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Mental health - Eating disorders and self-harm

  • Why is there a need to fund new research?

    Despite an increase in young people affected by eating disorders and self-harm, there is still limited research focusing on what causes these devastating mental health problems. As many as one in six teenagers have self-harmed at some point, and self-harm is the strongest known risk factor for suicide. Eating disorders are also common, affecting around 15 per cent of young women and over three per cent of young men.

    Although up to half of people with an eating disorder have self-harmed, we also know little about why these mental health problems often occur together.

    Building on a previous £1.3 million investment in eating disorders and self-harm research by the Foundation and the MRC (part of UK Research and Innovation), these new research projects will improve our understanding of what causes these conditions and ultimately, it is hoped these insights will lead to earlier intervention and better treatments.

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