Identification des mécanismes transdiagnostiques et spécifiques à chaque diagnostic dans les facteurs de risque associés aux troubles alimentaires: une approche bio-comportementale avec implications pour la prévention et le traitement


Sarah Racine

Université McGill


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2018-2019

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses associated with significant psychological distress, medical complications, and the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric condition. Understanding what leads to the initial development and ongoing symptoms of eating disorders is critical for creating new methods of prevention and treatment. Eating disorders rarely occur on their own, pointing to fundamental processes that underlie risk for multiple psychiatric disorders. My research program seeks to identify risk and maintenance processes that make eating disorders similar to other psychiatric disorders and to one another, and those that make eating disorders and individual eating disorder symptoms unique.

The first proposed study will investigate biological and behavioural mechanisms that underlie negative urgency, a personality risk factor for psychiatric disorders that involves acting impulsively when feeling upset. I will examine whether a negative mood enhances reward processing of food and explains the strong relationship between negative urgency and eating disorders. The second study will investigate whether difficulties regulating emotions to general emotional stimuli is common to all eating disorders, while different emotional reactions to food, and regulation of these emotional responses, relate to different eating disorder symptoms.

The longer-term objective is to understand how common and unique factors interact to predict the development of an eating disorder versus another psychiatric condition, and how these factors maintain different eating disorder symptoms over time. Prevention and treatment programs can be designed based on these findings to target both co-occurring conditions and individual symptom presentations.