Jennifer S Coelho

Jennifer S Coelho
BC Children's Hospital | BCCHILDRENS · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

65
Publications
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Introduction
Jennifer Coelho works at the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for Children & Adolescents at BC Children's Hospital, and is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC. She holds a Health-Professional Investigator Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, with a focus on improving treatment services for pediatric eating disorders.

Publications

Publications (65)
Article
Full-text available
Importance The COVID-19 pandemic has had considerable mental health consequences for children and adolescents, including the exacerbation of previously diagnosed eating disorders. Whether the pandemic is a factor associated with the concomitant increase in new-onset anorexia nervosa or atypical anorexia nervosa remains unknown. Objective To assess...
Article
Full-text available
Certain presentations of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders (SSRDs) have conceptual overlap, namely, distress and impairment related to a physical symptom. This study compared characteristics of pediatric patients diagnosed with ARFID to those with gastrointestinal (GI)-related SSRD. A 5-year...
Article
Full-text available
Background: To address the gaps in the literature examining eating disorders among males and gender minority youths, a prospective study was designed to assess gender differences in eating disorder symptom presentation and outcomes. Muscularity concerns may be particularly relevant for male youths with eating disorders, and were included in assess...
Article
Full-text available
Plain English summary Parents play a central role in pediatric eating disorder treatment. To further understand parents’ experiences over the course of their child’s eating disorder treatment, interviews were conducted with ten parents whose children were admitted to a specialized pediatric eating disorders program. Five major themes emerged across...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. To address the gaps in the literature examining eating disorders among males and gender minority youths, a prospective study was designed to assess gender differences in eating disorder symptom presentation and outcomes. Muscularity concerns may be particularly relevant for male youths with eating disorders, and were included in assessm...
Article
Full-text available
Objective The COVID-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on mental health. Literature on the impact on individuals with eating disorders is slowly emerging. While outpatient eating disorder services in Canada have attempted to transition to virtual care, guidelines related to optimal virtual care in this field are lacking. As such, the objective...
Article
Objective The current study explored the experience and familiarity of pediatric health professionals with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), and assessed the application of diagnostic criteria in a series of clinical vignettes. Method Pediatric health professionals were invited to complete an online survey. Data from 93 health pro...
Article
Background.: This study examined changes in performance and satisfaction with self-identified occupational performance goals during a specialized day treatment admission in children and adolescents with eating disorders. Weight-related outcomes for underweight youth were also examined. Methods.: A total of 63 youth participated in the study, wit...
Article
Objective: Related to the cognitive-behavioural theory of eating disorders, body checking has gained increasing recognition as both a maintaining factor for eating disorders and an important target for treatment. However, it is unclear whether body checking behaviours contribute to the development of disordered eating, or if these behaviours develo...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Eating disorders are common and serious conditions affecting up to 4% of the population. The mortality rate is high. Despite the seriousness and prevalence of eating disorders in children and adolescents, no Canadian practice guidelines exist to facilitate treatment decisions. This leaves clinicians without any guidance as to which tre...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives A burgeoning literature demonstrates that self-compassion has widespread implications for numerous mental health problems, with recent research highlighting the role of self-compassion in body dissatisfaction and eating pathology. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the relations between self-compassion, psychological di...
Article
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Purpose of Review This scoping review includes recent literature on eating disorder diagnoses and evaluation of eating disorder symptom presentation among transgender youth (ages 8–25). Recent Findings A total of 20 publications from the previous 5 years were identified, including case reports, retrospective chart reviews, and surveys. Significant...
Article
Background and Objectives. Eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have high rates of reciprocal comorbidity and appear to have shared etiological factors. Body checking has been proposed as behavior that is associated with both obsessive-compulsive and eating disorder symptoms. The current study was designed to assess body checkin...
Article
Research in adults demonstrates a positive association between obsessive-compulsive symptoms, eating pathology, cognitive distortions, and comorbid depressive symptoms. Given that adolescence is characterized by unique and rapid changes in biopsychosocial processes, it is imperative to elucidate the relation between these variables in youth. In thi...
Article
Objective A wealth of evidence indicates that self‐compassion is linked with positive psychological outcomes; however, little is known about the process through which self‐compassion exerts its effect. The primary purpose of this research was to investigate the direct and indirect impact of self‐compassion on body satisfaction and eating pathology...
Article
Objective: A retrospective chart review was conducted to investigate outcomes in children and adolescents who entered family-based treatment (FBT) in a tertiary eating disorders treatment setting that offers treatment across the continuum of care (i.e., outpatient, day treatment, and inpatient services). M e t h o d: Chart data were extracted for c...
Article
Full-text available
Objective The Short Treatment Allocation Tool for Eating Disorders (STATED) is a new evidence-based algorithm developed to match patients to the most clinically appropriate and cost-effective level of care (Geller et al., 2016). The objective of this research was to examine the extent to which current practices are in alignment with STATED recommen...
Article
Full-text available
Background The growing body of research on eating disorders among male adolescents reveals some sex differences in clinical presentation. The current study set out to replicate and extend recent research on the clinical and medical characteristics of male youth with eating disorders, and examine sex differences between biological males and females...
Article
Thought–shape fusion (TSF) describes the experience of marked concerns about body weight/shape, feelings of fatness, the perception of weight gain, and the impression of moral wrongdoing after thinking about eating fattening/forbidden foods. This study sets out to evaluate the short version of the TSF trait questionnaire (TSF). The sample consists...
Article
Full-text available
Thought-shape fusion (TSF) describes the experience of body-related cognitive distortions associated with eating disorder (ED) pathology. In the laboratory TSF has been activated by thoughts about fattening/forbidden foods and thin ideals. This study aims at validating a questionnaire to assess the trait susceptibility to TSF (i.e., body-related co...
Article
The current study assessed attitudes of youth toward anthropometric measurements—specifically, weight and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurements. We hypothesized that nonclinical youth would report fewer intrusive thoughts about MUAC than about weight measurements, and that higher eating pathology would be associated with more intrusive th...
Article
Purpose: Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) measurement is proposed as an adjunctive measure of re-nutrition progress in youth with eating disorders. We propose that MUAC is a clinically-useful measurement that can be used to inform clinicians about treatment progress. The aims of this study were twofold: 1) to test whether assessments of MUAC can...
Article
Full-text available
Background and objectives: It has been shown that exposure to female thin ideals in media has minimal to moderate direct effects on body image satisfaction (BIS), mood and dysfunctional eating in healthy young women. Evidence has been found for several intervening variables such as social comparison processes. Accordingly it is assumed, that cogni...
Article
Full-text available
Thought-Shape Fusion (TSF) and Thought-Action Fusion (TAF) are cognitive distortions that are associated with eating and obsessional pathology respectively. Both involve the underlying belief that mere thoughts and mental images can lead to negative outcomes. TSF involves the belief that food-related thoughts lead to weight gain, body dissatisfacti...
Article
Full-text available
Thought-shape fusion (TSF) is a belief that entails perceptions of weight gain, moral transgression, and body dissatisfaction when thinking about food consumption. The objectives of the current study were to (1) investigate whether high TSF endorsement is associated with differences in cognitive, affective and behavioural reactions to a TSF inducti...
Article
A retrospective chart review was conducted to elucidate the clinical and medical characteristics of male youth admitted to a tertiary inpatient treatment center for eating disorders. A total of 23 male youth were identified who had received treatment between January 2003 and February 2014, and for whom charts were available. The majority of the sam...
Article
Degree of ego-dystonicity in obsessions is clinically relevant to the conceptualization and treatment of eating disorders (EDs). Obsessive-compulsive disorder research has suggested that the transformation of intrusive thoughts into obsessions is linked to the degree to which intrusive thoughts threaten core perceptions of the self. This study aims...
Article
We examined differences in treatment outcome associated with a "self-directed"- versus "external-incentive"-based day treatment protocol for individuals with eating disorders (EDs) with below normal body mass index. The self-directed protocol recommended a weekly 500 g weight gain, but allowed participants freedom to gain weight at their own rate;...
Article
Objective Over-evaluation of food, shape and weight is a multi-faceted component of cognitive-behavioral models of eating disorders. One specific aspect of over-evaluation of food is a cognitive distortion known as thought-shape fusion (TSF). TSF is purported to be specific to eating pathology; however, research has not yet elucidated whether indiv...
Article
The cue-reactivity model, which is based on conditioning processes, posits that repeated food exposure (in the absence of consumption) should decrease cue reactivity. To examine whether repeated chocolate exposure attenuates cravings and intake, relative to those exposed to an acute cue, a 2 (repeated vs acute cue) × 2 (restrained vs unrestrained e...
Article
Background Previous research has demonstrated that imagining consumption of high-caloric foods can lead to feelings of guilt, and perception of weight gain and moral wrongdoing. This psychological response is known as thought-shape fusion (TSF). Objectives This study was conducted to assess the susceptibility of obese and lean adolescents to TSF. M...
Article
Thought–shape fusion (TSF) is a cognitive distortion that has been linked to eating pathology. Two studies were conducted to further explore this phenomenon and to establish the psychometric properties of a French short version of the TSF scale. In Study 1, students (n = 284) completed questionnaires assessing TSF and related psychopathology. In St...
Article
Cognitive distortions may be implicated in difficulties with normalized eating. One specific distortion relevant to eating pathology is “thought-shape fusion” (TSF), in which just imagining eating high-caloric food leads individuals to feel fatter, and to perceive weight gain and moral wrong-doing. The current study investigated whether there are d...
Article
Unlabelled: Poor response inhibition has been associated with obesity, excessive food intake, and other consumptive behaviours, including alcohol use. However, the correlation between obesity and addictive behaviours like alcoholism is low: people who are obese appear to have a specific problem in restraining food intake. This would imply that obe...
Article
Thought-shape fusion (TSF) is a cognitive distortion that has been linked with eating pathology; however, the specificity of this distortion to eating disorders has not yet been examined. The current study set out to investigate the effects of a TSF induction on susceptibility to TSF in three groups of women: individuals with an eating disorder (n...
Article
The effects of pre-exposure to high- versus low-caloric foods on fruit intake were investigated. A total of 56 children participated in this study, and were randomly assigned to an exposure condition: high-caloric food, low-caloric food, or control. Children who were pre-exposed to a high-caloric food ate more fruit than did those pre-exposed to a...
Article
Food-scented products are widely available, yet it is unclear whether they influence eating behavior. Food-related cues can increase intake; therefore, it was anticipated that conscious exposure to food-scented products (e.g., body lotion) could also influence consumption. Female participants (n = 58) were randomly assigned to an exposure condition...
Article
Psychological processes may play a role in the evaluation of the effectiveness of exercise and subsequent food intake. In order to further investigate this phenomenon, the effects of the timing of exercise relative to an eating opportunity were evaluated. Female undergraduate participants who were of average weight and did not exercise regularly we...
Article
Thought-shape fusion (TSF) is a cognitive distortion that can be induced by imagining eating high-caloric foods, and involves increased guilt, feelings of fatness, and perceptions of weight gain and moral wrong-doing. Two studies were conducted to further elucidate this phenomenon. Study 1 investigated whether merely being exposed to fattening food...
Article
Research suggests that caloric restriction (CR) is beneficial; however, the effects of CR in the context of food cues are unclear. A 2 (food cue vs. no cue)x2 (CR vs. ad lib) between-subjects design was employed to test these effects in 40 rats. It was predicted that cue exposure and CR would induce stress, and that these factors might interact syn...
Article
Many studies have demonstrated that those high in weight-related concerns eat more after food-cue exposure, which is consistent with predictions of the cue-reactivity model. However, the counteractive-control model predicts that exposure to fattening foods activates dieting-related goals and behavior in weight-concerned individuals. Although these...
Article
Few factors have been identified that bolster self-control processes and prevent overeating in restrained eaters; however, research on counteractive-control theory suggests that exposure to food cues may represent such a protective factor. To further investigate the effects of food-cue exposure, restrained and unrestrained eaters were randomly assi...
Article
The present study investigated the effects of exposure to a food cue on the self-reported importance of dieting in those with low, medium, and high levels of dietary restraint. The results indicated that exposure to a food cue bolstered dieting-related goals in those who were low in dietary restraint but had no effect on the importance of dieting-r...
Article
A growing body of research on caloric restriction (CR) in many species of laboratory animals suggests that underfeeding leads to better health and longevity in the calorically-restricted animal (e.g., see [[34]. J.P. Pinel, S. Assanand and D.R. Lehman, (2000). Hunger, eating and ill health. Am Psychol, 55, 1105-1116.], for a review). Although some...
Article
Thought-shape fusion (TSF) is a cognitive distortion that can be induced experimentally and is associated with eating pathology. The current study was conducted in order to elucidate the effects of TSF induction in females with eating disorders (n=35), as well as in restrained eaters (n=38) and unrestrained eaters (n=39). It was hypothesized that T...
Article
This study investigates the effects of peer and sibling influence on the cookie intake of normal-weight children. A total of 44 children (24 girls and 20 boys) aged 5-11 participated in this study. Children played a sorting task while being exposed to a large amount of cookies. Children were tested alone or with an unfamiliar peer or with a sibling...
Article
This study investigates the effects of peer influence on the food intake of overweight and normal-weight children. A mixed factorial design was employed, with children's weight status (overweight vs. normal-weight) as a between-subjects factor, and social context (alone vs. group) as a within-subjects factor. A total of 32 children (n=17 overweight...
Article
Schachter's externality theory says that obese individuals are more sensitive to external cues, and Nisbett's extension speculating that obese humans tend to be hungry because they are dieting suggest that external cues should have a greater impact on both obese and dieting animals. The effects of external food cues on food restricted rats and rats...
Article
In order to determine the effects of selective food restriction on subsequent food intake and cravings, participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: carbohydrate-restriction, protein-restriction, or control (no restriction). Participants in the restriction conditions were asked to restrict their intake of either complex carbohydr...

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Project (1)
Project
This project aims at developing and evaluating an online-therapy (guided self-help) for binge-eating disorder (BED) based on evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (Munsch et al., 2011). The primary goal is to test feasibility and utility of the online-therapy and to evaluate the treatment outcome in comparison to a pure and a placebo-enriched wait-list control group (i.e. reduction of binge-eating episodes and eating disorder pathology as primary outcome variables). Altogether 60 participants with a BED diagnosis will be recruited. An 8-session guided self-help treatment followed by 3 booster sessions is implemented. A placebo is actively induced to investigate in more detail the mediation effect of this parameter in BED treatment. As such, half of the waitlist control group will be instructed to engage in positive expectations regarding the treatment effects and own self-efficacy during the waiting time of 4 weeks.