SiennaMarisa Brown, MSc.

Thesis title: Pro-Eating Disorder Online Communities

Background

SiennaMarisa Brown grew up in West Chester, Ohio and, after graduating from Northern Kentucky University with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Sociology, found herself 'across the pond' at the University of Oxford where she earned a M.Sc. in Sociology. She is currently a second-year doctoral candidate of Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh's School of Health in Social Science where she is actively working on a dissertation about online communities that promote and/or exacerbate feeding and eating psychopathology.

SiennaMarisa's research and career interests lie at the nexus of social inquiry and mental health, and are rooted in the sociological idea that "nothing is as it seems". She enjoys getting her hands dirty exploring the social and psychological influences behind maladaptive food-based behaviour and has been fortunate to pursue relevant opportunities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Western Europe. Her work has largely been on issues relating to interpersonal dynamics within pro-eating disorder (pro-ED) online discussion forums.

Qualifications

Northern Kentucky University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Bachelor of Science in Sociology (Summa Cum Laude)

University of Oxford, Master of Science in Sociology

Research summary

SiennaMarisa's research interests pertain to online communities that promote and/or exacerbate feeding and eating psychopathology, specifically pro-eating disorder online discussion forums. Her research interests surround self-presentation on, and the uses and gratifications of, pro-ED online discussion forums.

Current research interests

online self-presentation; interpersonal dynamics; online identity; pro-eating disorder websites

Knowledge exchange

  1. Brown, S., Opitz, M. C., Peebles, A. I., Sharpe, H., Duffy, F., & Newman, E. (2021). A qualitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with eating disorders in the UK. Appetite, 156, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104977
  2. Simpson, S., Azam, F., Brown, S., Hronis, A., & Brockman, R. (2021). The impact of personality disorders and personality traits on psychotherapy treatment outcome of eating disorders: A systematic review. Personality and Mental Health, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1002/pmh.1533

Project activity

League of European Research Universities (LERU)

  • Core participant (2021)
    • The LERU Doctoral Summer School is an annual event aiming to provide doctoral candidates with unique professional and personal development opportunities beyond what they are generally exposed to in the course of their PhD training. By creating an exceptional and truly international, intercultural and interdisciplinary meeting of bright young minds, the Summer School creates a highly stimulating learning experience which is of long lasting value to the participants’ future careers. Participants are LERU university PhD candidates who are selected on the basis of a university-wide competition. 

Scottish Government (National Eating Disorder Services) policy

The University of Edinburgh's Eating Disorders and Behaviours Research Group

  • Brown, S., Opitz, M.C., Peebles, I., Sharpe, H., Duffy, F., & Newman, E. (2020). "A Qualitative Exploration of the Impact of COVID-19 on Individuals with Eating Disorders in the UK". Appetite. 156. 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104977
    • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104977
    • The Eating Disorder and Behaviours Research Group of the University of Edinburgh conduced this research to better understand the implications of Covid-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals with an eating disorder.

Collaboration with NHS research:

  • Simpson, S., Azam, F., Brown, S., Hronis, A., & Brockman, R. (2021). The impact of personality disorders and personality traits on psychotherapy treatment outcome of eating disorders: A systematic review. Personality and Mental Health, 1–18.

 

Acknowledgements:

  • Peebles, I., Brown, B., Juster, E., Duffy, F. (2021). Thematic Analysis of Mechanisms Underpinning Email Peer Support for Young People with Eating Disorders. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, ahead-of-print.
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2020-0056
    • "The authors would like take the opportunity to say thank you to the individuals who took part in the study and agreed to us studying their email exchanges. The authors would also like to thank the peer support coordinators at Beat for facilitating the study and SiennaMarisa Brown for her qualitative analysis guidance. Finally, thanks to the Scottish Government Technology Enabled Grant scheme for providing funding for this peer support project."

Past project grants

(2021) Student Experience Grant scheme recipient, “Research Bow: An Initiative to strengthen our PGR community and outreach” (University of Edinburgh). Grant for to incentivize public engagement and improve the digital communication skills of Post Graduate Research (PGR) students in the School of Health in Social Science. (£720).
• University of Edinburgh’s School of Health in Social Sciences’ Marketing and Communications Administrator, Bethany Easton, discusses securing the grant here (2021): https://www.ed.ac.uk/health/news/research-bow-funding

Conference details

NRS Mental Health Annual Scientific Meeting, 2019 (Glasgow, UK)

  • Award: Best postgraduate conference poster “Uses and Gratifications of Pro-Eating Disorder Websites"

International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED), 2020 (Sydney, AU)

  • Presenter: “Uses and Gratifications of Pro-Eating Disorder Websites"

Participant

NRS Mental Health Annual Scientific Meeting, 2019

Scottish Eating Disorder Interest Group (SEDIG) Conference, 2019

Eating Disorders International Conference (EDIC), 2020

International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED), 2020

International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED), 2021

In the press

Regional Eating Disorder Unit (REDU), St. John's Hospital

 

The Scottish Times

Puttick, H. (2020, October 17). Covid makes people with eating disorders reluctant to seek help. The Times. Retrieved from: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/covid-makes-people-with-eating-disorders-reluctant-to-seek-help-3smk5mv0k

  • Represented the University of Edinburgh’s Eating Disorders and Behaviours Research Group with a co-author of our study, “A qualitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with eating disorders in the UK” (2020).
  • Was interviewed about the research group’s findings and suggested next steps regarding adequate medical and psychological support services during prolonged periods of national medical emergency.