The primary objective of the Body Image & Gender Issues group is to enhance our understanding of people’s experiences of body image, eating, and gender-related phenomena. We have a particular focus on applied outcomes of our research, whether that be working towards developing clear policies or guidelines, tools for clinical and research purposes, or prevention and intervention programs.

Within the group, we have a range of more specific interests, including exploring body image and gender issues through a sociocultural lens, such as social norms, social media, and sexual objectification, and understanding disordered eating behaviours in the general population, as well as clinically-diagnosed eating disorders. We also have an interest in the intersection of body image and certain health conditions, for example, how endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome affect the way women perceive their body and/or appearance, and how body image factors can influence medication adherence, such as in diabulimia. Additionally, the group is keen to identify and explore relevant protective factors for negative body image and maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviours, for example, self-compassion, mindfulness, and feminism. Please see the (non-exhaustive) list below for a summary of some of the key areas of focus within the group.

We employ a range of study designs and methods to address these research questions, from more traditional methods of cross-sectional and experimental designs, to those that integrate technology, such as ecological momentary assessment/intervention (EMA/I). Most of our members have experience with, and are trained in, qualitative methods (all are experienced in quantitative methods) and there is an interest within the group for mixed methods studies.

Particular areas

  • Body image (women and men)
  • Disordered eating
  • Eating disorders
  • Appearance-related commentary, such as fat talk
  • Sexual objectification
  • Social norms
  • Weight stigma
  • Social media behaviours (use, motivations, and experiences)
  • Fitspiration/thinspiration
  • Feminism
  • Self-compassion
  • Mindfulness
  • Health conditions, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and diabetes (i.e., diabulimia)


Group Members

Cairnmillar Staff


  • Dr Annamaria Klas, Deakin University
  • Dr Sybil McAuley, University of Melbourne


  • Clarke, M. J., Marks, A.D.G., & Lykins, A.D. (2016). Bridging the gap: The effect of gender normativity on differences in empathy and emotional intelligence. The Journal of Gender Studies, 25(5), 522-539.
  • Clarke, M. J., Marks, A.D.G., & Lykins, A.D. (2015). The effect of normative masculinity on males’ dysfunctional sexual beliefs, sexual attitudes and perceptions of sexual functioning. The Journal of Sex Research, 52(3), 327-337.
  • Clarke, M. J., Marks, A.D.G., & Lykins, A.D. (2015). Effects of gender group norms on the endorsement of same-sex attraction, behaviour and identity. The Journal of Bisexuality, 15(3), 319-345.
  • Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Skouteris, H., Richardson, B., Blore, J., Holmes, M., and Mills, J. (2013). Does the burden of the experience sampling method undermine data quality in state body image research? Body Image, 10(4), 607-613. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2013.06.003.
  • Mills, J. & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M. (2018). Nature and consequences of positively-intended fat talk in daily life. Body Image, 26, 38-49. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.05.004.
  • Mills, J. & Ling, M, (2018). Using EMA to assess the relationship between fat talk and women’s body image experiences. SAGE Research Methods Cases. doi:10.4135/9781526447364
  • Mills, J. & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M. (2016). Fat talk and body image disturbance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Women Quarterly. 41(1), 114–129. doi:10.1177/0361684316675317.
  • Mills, J. & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M. (2016). Fat talk and its relationship with body image disturbance. Body Image, 18, 61-64. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.05.001.
  • Mills, J., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., & Holmes, M. (2014). State body dissatisfaction and social interactions: An experience sampling study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38(4), 551-562. doi:10.1177/0361684314521139.


Current student projects

  • Exploring the psychosocial impact of endometriosis
  • Protective impact of self-compassion on body image and disordered eating
  • Protective impact of feminism on body image and disordered eating
  • Effect of social norms on the eating behaviour of young women
  • Trialling an ecological momentary intervention for women with body image disturbance
  • The price of social media

Proposed student projects

  • The link between feminist identity and fat talk
  • Motivation behind social media use and body image