Department of Psychology
My research focuses on the psycho-social determinants of eating behaviour. I am particularly interested in the relationship between attachment orientation (a measure of inter-personal functioning) and overeating as a form of affect regulation. I have previously shown that attachment anxiety (fear of abandonment) is a good predictor of body mass index through uncontrolled eating. I am pursuing several research questions related to this topic; Can attachment orientation account for why some people experience poor outcomes following weight-loss intervention (e.g., bariatric surgery)? Does the acute manipulation of attachment orientation affect real-world eating behaviour? Does the intergenerational transmission of attachment orientation interact with parental influences on children’s eating behaviour?
I previously worked and studied within the Nutrition and Behaviour Unit (NBU) at the University of Bristol, which is led by Prof. Jeff Brunstrom and Prof. Peter Rogers. Whilst at the NBU, I completed my PhD concerning cognitive factors affecting sensory specific satiety and the variety effect. In particular, my PhD work established that the anticipation of the effects of variety is a key feature of pre-meal portion-size selection. I also worked on projects focussed on the influence of expected satiety and expected satiation on decisions about portion size.
Finally, I have a special interest in the complex relationship between domestic abuse and disordered eating. This research theme often intertwines with my work on attachment orientation and affect regulation. I have previously conducted research on domestic abuse when working with the national charity SafeLives. I contributed to policy reports concerning the national response to victim’s of domestic abuse, children’s exposure to domestic abuse, the co-location of advocates in health-settings and response to stalking and harassment.
Hardman, C., Christiansen, P. & Wilkinson, L. (2016). Using food to soothe: Maternal attachment anxiety is associated with child emotional eating. Appetite. 99, 91-96.
Wilkinson, L., Ferriday, D., Bosworth, M., Godinot, N., Martin, N., Rogers, P. & Brunstrom, J.
(2016). Keeping Pace with Your Eating: Visual Feedback Affects Eating Rate in Humans. PLOS ONE. 11(2), e0147603
Wilkinson, L., Rowe, A. & Heath, G. (2013). Eating me up inside: Priming attachment security and anxiety, and their effects on snacking. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 30(6), 795-804.
Hinton, E., Brunstrom, J., Fay, S., Wilkinson, L., Ferriday, D., Rogers, P. & de Wijk, R. (2013). Using photography in ‘The Restaurant of the Future’. A useful way to assess portion selection and plate cleaning?. Appetite. 63, 31-35.
Wilkinson, L., Hinton, E., Fay, S., Rogers, P. & Brunstrom, J. (2013). The ‘variety effect’ is anticipated in meal planning. Appetite. 60, 175-179.
Brunstrom, J., Burn, J., Sell, N., Collingwood, J., Rogers, P., Wilkinson, L., Hinton, E.,
Maynard, O. & Ferriday, D. (2012). Episodic Memory and Appetite Regulation in Humans. PLoS ONE. 7(12), e50707
Wilkinson, L., Hinton, E., Fay, S., Ferriday, D., Rogers, P. & Brunstrom, J. (2012). Computer-based assessments of expected satiety predict behavioural measures of portion-size selection and food intake. Appetite. 59(3), 933-938.
Wilkinson, L., Rowe, A., Bishop, R. & Brunstrom, J. (2010). Attachment anxiety, disinhibited eating, and body mass index in adulthood. International Journal of Obesity. 34(9), 1442-1445.