PY0533 - Eating Disorders

What will I learn on this module?

This module will provide you with an understanding of the main clinical and epidemiological features of the eating disorders as classified in DSM V. You will learn about clinical management, as well as understanding of the variation of body image attitudes and perception and eating habits in normal healthy population.

The module covers topics such as; the clinical presentation of eating disorders, classification, diagnosis, and assessment of eating disorders, the role of dieting, the effect of culture, the physiology of appetite and obesity, body image distortion, eating disorders in children and men, and the treatment of eating disorders.

The module draws on many areas of psychology. Predisposing and precipitating factors for eating disorders are examined by considering empirical evidence from the biological, psychological, behavioural and socio-cultural domains. Specific risk factors explored include genetics, personality factors, cognitive factors and environmental factors, including the family, peer-group relations, adverse life experiences. The role of dieting and the effect of culture (including media) amongst some other things are explored as triggers.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of lectures, in-class activities, examples of clinical cases and research paradigms, and tutorials, along with independent study.

Interactive lectures will consist of traditional lectures with practical activities incorporated into them. The practical elements will include discussion of the application of particular topic areas introduced, demonstration and usage of clinical and experimental tools used in the field of eating disorders and body image perception and videos to support learning. The aim of the interactive lectures is to consolidate information learnt and encourage you to apply your knowledge in a problem-based situation.

You will have the opportunity for group discussion, enabling you to communicate ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity relevant to clinical situations and to the perspectives of others. The module will be enriched by guest lectures by experts from the wider multi-disciplinary field of eating disorders, and a practical workshop on body image distortion.

Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, which will serve as a basis for further, independent study. Independent learning skills and reflection on the role and value of those skills will prepare students for their career.

Tutorials will provide an opportunity for you to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the taught elements and assessments available on the eLearning Portal (e.g. PowerPoint slides, reading lists, online reading list, descriptions of research paradigms, clinical resources, practical exercise guidance sheets) along with references from the lectures to encourage further independent study. A discussion board on the eLearning Portal will be available for you to pose and respond to questions among peers and to the module leader. This enhances collegiality and also means that support is available to all students.

Tutorials can provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will develop knowledge of various eating disorders, their classification problems, clinical presentation, aetiology, assessment and treatment approaches
• MK2: Gain conceptual knowledge of the topic by evaluating theoretical, clinical and methodological approaches in psychology to the understanding of eating disorders and the variation of eating habits and body image perception in the population of healthy subjects.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MIP1: You will develop your skills in sourcing key studies relating to the topic area, and show evidence based reasoning using these studies.
• MIP2: You will develop your skills in understanding the methodological and ethical issues when considering methods of investigating eating disorders and body image distortion.
• MIP3: You will take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
You will engage in group discussions and practical activities, your engagement with these will be formatively assessed throughout the module (MK1; MK2; MIP2)

Summative Assessment
The main assessment consists of a single essay (maximum of 3000 words) worth 90% of the module mark. The essay requires you to demonstrate conceptual knowledge of the topic by evaluating theoretical and methodological approaches in psychology to the understanding of eating disorders. (MK1; MK2; MIP1; MIP2)

The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP3). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words)

For the formative assessment, you will receive peer feedback and oral feedback from the module tutor on your progress

For the first summative assignment, detailed feedback will be provided, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of your answer. Generic written feedback detailing how the question was answered by the cohort as a whole, will also be provided, along with the cohort Mean and Standard Deviation, so as to enable you to determine whether their mark was above or below average etc. You will also be able to access their marks, along with the cohort Mean and Standard Deviation electronically, via the eLearning portal.

Formal feedback on the reflection will be provided by each student’s personal guidance tutor at an individual meeting, arranged by the student.

Oral feedback on the learning outcomes which are assessed formatively will be provided in the lectures.





Module abstract

This module is designed to give you a good understanding of the diagnosis, aetiology, assessment and treatment of eating disorders. The module also explores the variation of eating disorder symptomatology in the heathy population. Body image perception and distortion is explored in detail theoretically, clinically and through research paradigms. The module gives you a good understanding of the complicated and multi-determined field of eating disorders, and the limitations of the methodology both for clinical assessment and research paradigms. It aims to give further understanding on people’s eating attitudes and body size and shape concerns and what factors might drive them, through self-exercises and clinical case examples. The module is delivered through formal lectures and practical exercises, together with tutorials. For enrichment guest speakers are invited from the multidisciplinary field and a practical workshop is organised. The module is assessed through an essay and career reflection report. In the past student satisfaction with the module has been extraordinary.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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