Primary Research Focus
The Schaefer Lab studies eating disorder risk, maintenance and recovery. It seeks to explain how eating disorders emerge and resolve. This work uses non-clinical, clinical, recovered and obese samples to study factors associated with the onset, persistence and recovery of eating disorder symptoms. Much of this work examines sociocultural, affective and cognitive processes. These processes include appearance pressures, internalized appearance ideals, self-concept, negative affect, eating expectancies and inhibitory control.
The lab also studies the quality of measurement tools that researchers use in assessing the symptoms and risk factors of eating disorders. These tools are critical for proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment. The Schaefer Lab works toward developing, validating and evaluating relevant measures. The goal of this research is to create psychometrically sound assessments of eating disorder risk factors.
One of Schaefer Lab’s focuses is studying eating disorder risk factors among underrepresented, disadvantaged or marginalized populations. Currently, there is a limiting reliance on past research that used primarily white female samples. The Schaefer Lab explores the impact of eating disorder risk factors among diverse populations. Evidence suggests that risk factors may vary across demographic characteristics (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation) and that culturally-adapted interventions are more efficient.