About me

I am an Associate Professor of Psychological Medicine at Karolinska Institutet where I work with research and teaching. I am also a licensed clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst involved in clinical practice and supervision. I have been working in the field of eating disorders since the 1980’s, and I was one of the founders of the Resource Centre for Eating Disorders. I believe that research on eating disorders and clinical work can enrich one another and that it is essential to spread knowledge and understanding of eating disorders to clinicians and the general public. I have been responsible KI’s course on Background and Treatment of Eating Disorders since its start in 2002 and have led the development of internet-based education at the Resource Centre for Eating Disorders. For nine years I was chairman of the patient eating disorder advocacy group Frisk & Fri, which gave me important insights into eating disorders from the perspective of patients and their families. Presently I am working with the publisher Studentlitteratur and Assoc. Prof. Rasmus Isomaa in Finland on a book about understanding and dealing with eating disorders that is planned for publication toward the end of 2020.

Research description

Over the years my research has focused mainly on psychological factors in eating disorders. I have been interested in how self-image, attachment, affect regulation and mentalization affects the development of and recovery from eating disorders. I have even been interested in questions about expectations and experiences of treatment, classification, pregnancy and eating disorders, as well as drop-in services for eating disorders and mobile acute teams of responders. Here at CEDI I am working on an interdisciplinary project called Polygenic Risk of Anorexia Nervosa and its Clinical Expression (PACE), which aims to explore the relationship between genetic factors in anorexia nervosa and patients’subjective experiences of their disorder. PACE builds on genetic research at CEDI that suggests that a tendency to react positively to ”negative energy balance” (i.e. starvation and hunger) can increase the risk of developing anorexia nervosa. PACE uses polygenic risk scores of anorexia nervosa to define four groups of patients: 1) high risk and still ill, 2) high risk and healthy, 3) low risk and still ill, 4) low risk and healthy. These groups are interviewed about their experiences of negative energy balance, eating disorder symptoms, family relationships and experiences of treatment. Qualitative analysis is used to identify and contrast themes in the different groups. Results will be used to understand the challenges that arise in the treatment of anorexia nervosa and develop new treatment interventions and educational programmes that can contribute to better long-term outcome.

Selected publications

  • Clinton, D. N. & Norring, C., red. (2002) Ätstörningar: Bakgrund och aktuella behandlingsmetoder, Stockholm, Natur & Kultur.
  • Clinton, D. (2010). Towards an ecology of eating disorders: creating sustainability through the integration of scientific research and clinical practice. European Eating Disorders Review, 18, 1-9.
  • Clinton, D., Almlöf, L., Lindström, S., Manneberg, M. & Vestin, L. (2014). Drop-in access to specialist services for eating disorders: A qualitative study of patient experiences. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 22, 279-291.
  • Brundin Pettersson, C., Zandian, M. & Clinton, D. (2016). Eating disorder symptoms pre- and postpartum. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 19, 675-80.
  • Clinton, D. & Birgegård, A. (2017). Classifying empirically valid and clinically meaningful change in eating disorders using the Eating Disorders Inventory, version 2 (EDI-2). Eating Behaviors, 26, 99-103.
  • Holmqvist, R. & Clinton, D., red. (2018). Relationella perspektiv på handledning. Stockholm: Liber.
  • Forsén Mantilla, E., Clinton, D. & Birgegård, A. (2019). The unsafe haven: Eating disorders as attachment relationships. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 92: 379-393. DOI:10.1111/papt.12184.
  • Levallius, J., Clinton, D., Högdahl, L. & Norring, C. (2020). Personality as predictor of outcome in internet-based treatment of bulimic eating disorders. Eating Behaviors, 36: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2019.101360

Education

  • M.A. (Hon.) in Psychology, Edinburgh University, 1981.
  • M.App.Sci. in Clinical Psychology, Glasgow University, 1983.
  • Ph.D. in Psychology, Stockholm University, 1994.
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