Get involved – Research

Details of on-going research and participant recruitment

Coeliac Disease can mean so much more than just a change in diet.

At the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, we apply psychologists’ expertise in behaviour change, neuropsychology, self-care and emotional support to make living with Coeliac Disease easier.

Our researchers are happy to talk to you about our work. Current projects include:

  • a study looking at cognitive and neuropsychological function in adults newly diagnosed with coeliac disease
  • the development of a scale to measure food attitudes and behaviour in people with coeliac disease
  • the development of a screening tool to support people to live well with coeliac disease
  • the development of a psychological intervention for people with coeliac disease
  • looking at the effect of coeliac disease on eating patterns, body image, social support and psychological wellbeing
  • exploring issues around the transition from paediatric to adult services
  • and much more …

Projects where we need participants

We have some exciting projects on the go at the moment which we will soon be recruiting to.  Details of recruitment will be available on our Twitter feed as we launch the projects so please follow us here. In the meantime, here are some details of current projects and how you can get involved.

Psychological Intervention Study

We have an on-going research project running looking at living well with coeliac disease.  This is being conducted by our PhD student Catharine Rose.  The current phase of Catharine’s research is aimed at developing a psychological intervention for people struggling with aspects of managing their coeliac disease.  Catharine is at the exciting stage of developing the details of the intervention before this is rolled out as a pilot in the next few months.  Participants will need to be able to attend the University of Birmingham regularly for a few weeks and there will be a series of questionnaires to complete at several points during the project.  This is quite a big commitment but we hope very much that participants will help us to develop an intervention that will support people to live well with coeliac disease.

We will be recruiting participants for this study in the next few weeks, so if you are an adult with coeliac disease (18 years and over) and would like to find out more please email Catharine at:

“Brain Fog” Project – The Cognitive & Neuropsychological Consequences of Coeliac Disease

It is now well understood that coeliac disease does not just affect the gut.  For a while we have been interested in trying to understand better these non-gastrointestinal symptoms of coeliac disease, particularly the cognitive and neuropsychological symptoms, such as memory difficulties, fatigue, and difficulties in processing information, often known as “brain fog”.  This project is being led by Natalie, one of our Clinical Psychology trainees.  She will be recruiting a small number of adults who are at the point of being diagnosed with coeliac disease and will be asking them to complete a number of cognitive and neuropsychological tests over a period of 6 months.  This is an exciting project as we will be attempting to demonstrate that these difficulties can become less severe as the gluten-free diet becomes established and the gut recovers.  Participants will be required to complete these tests, which can take a number of hours.  These can be done here at the University of Birmingham, or at a convenient location.

We will be recruiting participants for this study during the autumn.  We will need people to be at the point of diagnosis so if you are going through the process of being diagnosed, particularly if you are waiting for blood tests or a date for your biopsy, then please get in touch here and we can send you more details.

Body satisfaction, well-being and eating behaviours

This project is being undertaken by our current undergraduate student Lana.  Lana’s research links to ongoing research into food attitudes and behaviours in people with coeliac disease and how these are related to body satisfaction and psychological well-being.  This project will build on previous work carried out by our student Eleanor last year found a relationship between body dissatisfaction, BMI and disordered eating behaviours in a group of largely women with coeliac disease.  Eleanor’s research concluded that if people with coeliac disease are showing signs of psychological distress, clinicians could explore possible their feelings about their body in terms of weight and shape.  Lana aims to recruit only men for her project to try to determine whether there are any gender differences in terms of body satisfaction of psychological well-being.

If you are a man with coeliac disease and you are interested in being involved in this research, please contact us here for further details.  We will be recruiting in the autumn term.

What do we need to know in 5 year’s time? Future research:
We are interested in finding out what you think needs to be known about Coeliac Disease in the next 5 years. What research should be done now? What do we need to know? What do we need to know in five year’s time that we don’t currently? What is the future for coeliac research and where are the gaps? If you have ideas as to what psychological, wellbeing, behavioural or other research we can be prioritising, then contact us below. Together, we can shape future research, now.

If you want to know more about our on-going research or would like to get involved please email us:

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