Marie-Christine Opitz

Thesis title: Eating behaviours and Health Awareness: Disentangling the Clinical Picture of Orthorexia Nervosa

Background

After a BSc in Psychology at the Ruprecht-Karls Universität in Heidelberg and graduating from the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt with a MSc in Clinical and Educational Psychology, I came to Edinburgh to gain a new perspective on human experiences with a MSc in Social Anthropology. Striving to combine socio-cultural approaches with clinical research and practice, I began a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh in September 2018. 

Qualifications

Associate Fellow for teaching and learning support in higher education  (AFHEA)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Postgraduate Researcher Representative at the School of Health in Social Science 2019/2020

Co-Organiser of 'ConveRACEions' - an initiative which aims to discuss and dismantle barriers to racial equality, as well as ways of moving forward

Co-Editor of 'Research Bow' - A postgraduate research blog from and for the PGRs of the School of Health in Social Science

Undergraduate teaching

Tutor for the MA course "Identity and Experience in Health and Society" 2020

Postgraduate teaching

Tutor for the MSc course "Developmental Psychology" 2021/2022

Tutor for the MSc course "Conceptual and Theoretical Psychology" 2021

Tutor for the MSc courses "Psychology of Mental Health - Psychological Therapies, Cognitive Psychology and Study Skills" 2020/2021

Tutor for the MSc course "Research Methods in Applied Psychology" 2019/2020

 

Research summary

With my PhD-project, I aspire to investigate eating behaviours within the current health discourse. Coming from a background of both Clinical Psychology and Social Anthropology, my main research interests focus on the links between socio-cultural constructs and psychological concerns: healthy eating can be associated with negative social and emotional consequences when the preoccupation with a healthy diet leads to the pressure of maintaining and embodying “perfect” health. The previous thin ideal thereby expands towards an ideal that encompasses fitness and health. This shift might be reflected in the emergence of “Orthorexia Nervosa” which describes obsessive health behaviours that have negative psychological consequences for the individual. My research goal is to explore Orthorexia as both a potential new psychological disorder and a socio-cultural force by looking into how health awareness can become maladaptive.

Current research interests

Eating Behaviours; Body Image; Socio-Cultural Research; Health Psychology

Knowledge exchange

Author of the 'Research Bow' Blog Post - "Research Reflection Inspired by World Vegan Day" 

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/research-reflection-inspired-by-world-vegan-day/

Author of the 'Research Bow' Blog Post Series- "Demystifying the Viva Process"

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/demystifying-the-viva-process-the-student-experience/

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/demystifying-the-viva-the-staff-perspective/

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/demystifying-the-viva-process-the-student-experience-2/

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

Research Bow editorial team: Student Experience Grant
ConveRACEions team: Social Responsibility and Sustainability Student Project Grant

Conference details

Paper presentation at the International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED) June 2021: "A qualitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with eating disorders in the UK"

Poster presentation at the Eating Disorders International Conferece (EDIC) January 2021: "The psychometric properties of Orthorexia Nervosa-assessment-scales: a systematic review"

Poster presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the NRS Mental Health Network November 2020: "Understanding Characteristics and Perceived Causes of Orthorexia – A Reddit Analysis"

Oral presentation at the Edinburgh University PGR HSS Conference September 2020: "Understanding Characteristics and Perceived Causes of Orthorexia – A Reddit Analysis"

Poster presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the NRS Mental Health Network October 2019: "The Psychometric Properties of Orthorexia Nervosa Assessment Scales: A Systematic Review"

Oral presentation at the Edinburgh University PGR HSS Conference May 2019: "Orthorexic Society or Orthorexia Nervosa? Looking into the phenomenon of obsessive healthy eating"

 

 

Organiser

Co-organiser of the Edinburgh University - School of Health in Social Science - Postgraduate Research Conference September 2020

A qualitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with eating disorders in the UK

1 Jan 2021 In: Appetite

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104977

 

The psychometric properties of orthorexia nervosa assessment scales: A systematic review and reliability generalization

1 Dec 2020 In: Appetite

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104797