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PSY3033 : Eating and Weight Disorders

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Elizabeth Evans
  • Lecturer: Professor Vera Araujo Soares, Dr Amy Fielden, Mrs Barbara-Anne Robertson, Dr Gavin Clark
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this course is to provide a summary of weight and eating-related syndromes and symptoms, including clinical eating disorders, eating disordered behaviour, and obesity. It focuses on issues around cause, diagnosis, intervention, and treatment options for eating and weight disorders, concentrating primarily on psychological therapies. The course will have a major input from clinicians and researchers who have experience in investigating, developing and delivering treatment therapies and long-term care programmes to those with eating and weight disorders.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered include:

Determinants of Eating Behaviour
Clinical Definitions of Eating Disorders
Body Image, Media and the ‘Ideal’ Body
Conceptual models and causal risk factors for Eating Disorders
Psychological Treatments for Eating Disorders
Neurocognitive Impairment in Eating Disorders
Disordered Eating in Children and Adolescents
Obesity and Body Image in Children and Adolescents
Obesity in adults
Weight stigma

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion175:0075:00Preparation for the examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion72:0014:00Fortnightly online (formative) learning activities with feedback
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Interactive lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading187:0087:00Suggested further reading and exploration of the literature
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Formal lectures and informal classroom discussions and tests present a systematic perspective on the subject with reference to alternative perspectives.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1802A100One compulsory structured diagnostic exercise using 2 unseen case studies & then 2 essays freely chosen from 6 options
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MSee Assessment Rational and Relationship below.
Written exercise2MSee Assessment Rational and Relationship below.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative assessments

Essay: Essay outlines under exam conditions in response to exam question examples; essay plans will be presented to the group as a whole. Other example essay plans are available on Blackboard.

Written Exercises: Graudated exercises completed via the VLE to consolidate lecture content and prepare for the exam - automated feedback provided via the VLE immediately on completion of each exercise.

In the final examination, students will be presented with two previously unseen case studies. They will be expected to: (1) indicate the likely diagnosis (and differentials) using evidence from the case study; and (2) explain the probable distal and proximal factors that contributed to the onset of the symptoms, as well as the processes that are likely maintaining the problem, drawing upon conceptual models of disordered eating. Each case study should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. This component will give students the opportunity to synthesise and demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course in differential diagnosis and case formulation.
In addition, two unseen essays (two questions from an open choice of six) are used to allow students to demonstrate both factual knowledge, and – by their organization of material – abstract systematic understanding of topics related to key issues in eating and weight disorders research in an objective and rigorous manner. Each essay should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
Marks will be equally distributed between the case study component (one third of the total grade) and the two essays (two thirds of the total grades).

The structured fortnightly formative assessments allow learners to practice their skills in diagnosis and clinical case formulation, as well as consolidating key lecture content around central critical evaluative themes. In this way it provides experience in line with each of the learning objectives and prepares learners for the format and requirements of the examination components. Feedback is then provided via the VLE using a variety of methods, including model answers.

A lecture in which students write essays for 2 previously unseen exam questions without reference to their notes provides additional practice for this component of the exam. The lecturer then verbally reviews the marking scheme used for these essays. The activity provides learners with the experience of planning and writing exam essays and of comparing their answers to the marking schemes.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists