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 Kai Thomas

Kai Thomas

Research student, School of Psychology

Centre for Human Developmental Science, null, null, null, null, null


Research summary

Eating disorders typically develop during adolescence, with reports of a prominent increase in incidence from 11-12 years to 12-13 years (3.56 to 9.51/100,000 respectively; Nicholls, Lynn & Viner, 2011). Children around 12 years of age have been found to display eating disorder symptoms (also known as disordered eating behaviours), that are at similar levels to those found in late adolescence (Wichstrøm, 2000). In addition, the presence of disordered eating behaviours during childhood and early adolescence has been found to increase the risk of developing clinical eating disorders in late adolescence (Evans et al., 2017). The implication of this is that in order to develop our understanding of how clinical eating disorders develop during this time period and design interventions for treatment, research first needs to explore risk factors for disordered eating behaviours earlier in adolescence to identify risk factors and predictors.

Undergraduate Education

2013-17: BSc Psychology with Professional Placement (First Class Honours), Cardiff University.

Dissertation title: Investigating the roles of rejection sensitivity and adverse life events in disordered eating within a female undergraduate population.

Postgraduate Education

2017-18: MSc Social Science Research Methods (Distinction), Cardiff University (ESRC 1+3 Funding).

Dissertation title: Comparing neural markers of response monitoring in individuals high in disordered eating behaviours and obsessive-compulsive traits.


2018-2022: Graduate Teaching Assistant, School of Psychology, Cardiff University.

2016-19: Research Assistant (part-time and full-time basis), Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, Cardiff University.

2015-16: Psychology Placement Student, Ty Catrin, Low Secure Mental Illness and Personality Disorder Service, Cardiff.

2015: Cardiff University Research Opportunities Placement (CUROP) Internship, supervised by Prof. Andy Smith.


Research interests

Research interests

  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Child and adolescent clinical psychology
  • Development and maintenance of eating disorders
  • Links between OCD and anorexia
  • Error related negativity (ERN)


I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), delivering group seminars to undergraduate first year students. Additionally, I mark essays and provide feedback.


Understanding risk factors for disordered eating in children.

Supervised by Dr Ross Vanderwert, Dr Marc Williams, and Dr Catherine Jones.

The main aim of this research project is to identify and explore the factors that are associated with disordered eating behaviours in children, and how they may change across time through a two-part longitudinal study. A range of techniques including EEG, cognitive tasks and video coding of behaviour will be utilised to explore a variety of areas including emotional regulation, attention and neural activation.

Funding source

ESRC 1+3 DTP Open Studentship and School of Psychology Graduate Teaching Assistant studentship


Dr Catherine Jones

Dr Catherine Jones

Senior Lecturer