Associate Professor Leah Brennan - Nat Sch Psychology (Faculty of Health Sciences)

Fully accredited supervisor - Can supervise as principal supervisor


Biographical Information

I am a Clinical, Health, Educational and Developmental Psychologist and an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at Australian Catholic University Melbourne. My primary areas of research include; (1) the role of psychology in understanding and treating eating, weight and body image concerns and their biopsychosocial comorbidities (e.g., diabetes, depression, stigma), (2) the role of parents in improving child behaviour and well being, and (3) promoting evidence-based practice and the generation of practice-based evidence in 'real-world' settings.

I am particularly interested in developing and/or evaluating evidence based interventions, conducting intervention trials (including efficacy, effectiveness, implementation) and evaluating the effectiveness of real-world treatment programs. I work closely with a range of hospital, community and private treatment services and have recently lead the establishment of the ACU Clinic for Health Eating and Weight to provide high quality low cost assessment, treatment and support for eating, weight and body image concerns and to facilitate clinical research in this area.


Phone :3662 (Melbourne)
URIs :

Research Interests

Obesity and Overweight ; Eating Disorders ; Body Image ; Mental Health ; Parenting ; Child Behaviour ; Evaluation of 'Real World' Interventions ; Disseminatin of Evidence Based Practice ; Generation of Practice Based Evidence ; Childhood overweight and obesity ; Obesity ; Overweight ;

Methods Expertise

Efficacy, Effectivness & Implementation Research ; Randomised Controlled Trials ; Treatment evaluations ; Intervention trials ; Quantitative Research ; Qualitative Research: ; Systematic Reviews ; Meta-Analysis ; Clinical Research ;

Research Projects

Completed Projects

  • Biopsychosocial Outcomes of Gastric Banding for Obese Adolescents (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Effectiveness of an Eating Disorder Out Patient Program (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Effectiveness of an Eating Disorder Day Patient Program (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)

Current Projects

  • Disordered Eating Post Bariatric Surgery (Master) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Effectiveness of a Community Based Eating Disorder Program (Master) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Quality of life in obese adults following bariatric surgery (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Comparison of self-guided and clinician-led body image intervention for overweight and obese women (Master) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Comparing face-to-face and online support for disordered eating guided self-help (Master) (Principal Supervisor)
  • The efficacy of guided self-help for the treatment of mental health risk factors (Master) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Behavioural Intervention for Parents of Problem Eaters (Master) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Effective treatments for disordered eating (PhD) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Biopsychosocial predictors/correlates of pain in obese adults (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Biopsychosocial correlates of weight-related stigma in overweight and obese adults (Undergraduate) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Early Post-Surgical Predictors of Weight Loss Outcomes of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (PhD) (Principal Supervisor)

Selected Publications


Randomized controlled trial of a telephone-based intervention for child fruit and vegetable intake: Long-term follow-up, in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99(3), 543-550. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071738

Examining the relationship between obesity and cognitive function: A systematic literature review, in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, 23(2), 138-156. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2014.05.001

Measurement of disordered eating in bariatric surgery candidates: A systematic review of the literature, in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, e1-e14. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2014.01.005

Biopsychosocial outcomes of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding in adolescents: A systematic review of the literature, in Obesity Surgery

Patients' perspectives on laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) aftercare attendance: Qualitative assessment, in Obesity Surgery, 24(2), 266-275. doi: 10.1007/s11695-013-1086-9

Measurement of disordered eating following bariatric surgery: A systematic review of the literature, in Obesity Surgery, 24(6), 945-953. doi: 10.1007/s11695-014-1248-4


Long term outcomes after bariatric surgery: Fifteen year follow up of adjustable gastric banding and a systematic review of the bariatric surgical literature, in Annals Of Surgery, 257(1), 87-94. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31827b6c02

Psychosocial outcomes of a non-dieting based positive body image community program for overweight adults: A pilot study, in Journal of Eating Disorders, 1, 44. doi: 10.1186/2050-2974-1-44

Maternal controlling feeding behaviours and child eating in preschool-aged children, in Nutrition and Dietetics, 70(1), 49-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0080.2012.01631.x

Physiological and behavioural outcomes of a randomised controlled trial of a cognitive behavioural lifestyle intervention for overweight and obese adolescents, in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 7(1), e23-e41. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2012.02.010

A systematic review of variables associated with the relationship between obesity and depression, in Obesity Reviews, 14(11), 906-918. doi: 10.1111/obr.12052

Intensive medical weight loss or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding in the treatment of mild to moderate obesity: Long-term follow-up of a prospective randomized trial, in Obesity Surgery, 23(9), 1345-1353. doi: 10.1007/s11695-013-0990-3

Pre-operative weight loss does not predict weight loss following laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, in Obesity surgery, 23(10), 1611-1615. doi: 10.1007/s11695-013-0974-3

Psychosocial predictors of 4-year BMI change in overweight and obese children in primary care, in Obesity, 21(3), 262-270. doi: 10.1002/oby.20050


A cluster randomized controlled trial of a telephone-based parent intervention to increase preschoolers fruit and vegetable consumption, in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96(1), 102-110. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.030585

The role of psychology in overweight and obesity management, in Applied topics in health psychology, Oxford UK: John Wiley & Sons

Treatment acceptability and psychosocial outcomes of a randomised controlled trial of a cognitive behavioural lifestyle intervention for overweight and obese adolescents , in Behaviour Change, 29(1), 36-62. doi: 10.1017/bec.2012.5

Validity of the beck depression inventory as a screening tool for a clinical mood disorder in bariatric surgery candidates, in Clinical Research, 22(11), 1666-75. doi: 10.1007/s11695-012-0682-4

Parenting styles, communication and child/adolescent diets and weight status: Let's talk about it, in Early Child Development and Care, 182(8), 1089-1103. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2012.678597

Promoting protective factors for young adolescents: ABCD parenting young adolescents program randomized controlled trial, in Journal of Adolescence, 35(5), 1315-1328. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.05.002

Predictors of attrition in bariatric aftercare: A systematic review of the literature, in Obesity Surgery, 22(10), 1640-1647. doi: 10.1007/s11695-012-0691-3

Does exercise improve weight loss after bariatric surgery? A systematic review, in Obesity Surgery, 22(2), 335-341. doi: 10.1007/s11695-011-0544-5

Parent- and adolescent-reported barriers to participation in an adolescent overweight and obesity intervention, in Obesity, 20(6), 1319-1324, doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.358


Primary goals for weight loss questionnaire (PGWLQ): Development and psychometric evaluation in overweight and obese adults, in Behaviour Change, 28(1). doi: 10.1375/bech.28.1.29

Self-monitoring in the treatment of overweight adolescents, in Behaviour Change, 28(2), 97-109. doi: 10.1375/bech.28.2.97

Psychosocial predictors of eating disorder risk in overweight and obese treatment-seeking adolescents, in Behaviour Change, 28(3), 111-127. doi: 10.1375/bech.28.3.111

In people with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes, cognitive behaviour therapy combined with motivational enhancement therapy reduces HbA1c after 12 months, in Evidence-Based Nursing, 14(3), 72-73. doi: 10.1136/ebn1164

Empowering parents to tackle children's obesity, in InPsych

Predictors of dropout in weight loss interventions: A systematic review of the literature, in Obesity Reviews, 12(11), 912-923. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00915.x

Predicting treatment initiation in a family-based adolescent overweight and obesity intervention, in Obesity, 19(6), 1307-1310. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.289

A pilot study of a telephone-based parental intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in 3-5-year-old children, in Public Health Nutrition, 14(12), 2245-2253. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011001170


Parental use of restrictive feeding practices and child BMI z-score: A three year prospective cohort study, in Appetite, 55(1), 84-88. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.04.006

A randomised controlled trial of the efficacy of the ABCD parenting young adolescents program: Rationale and methodology, in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 4(1), 22-35. doi: 10.1186/1753-2000-4-22

Adolescent and parent content preferences and predictors of intention to use an online healthy weight website for adolescents, in E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 6(1), 9. doi: 10.7790/ejap.v6i1.173

Changes in the content of children's school lunches across the school week, in Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 21(3), 196-201. doi: 10.1071/HE10196

Reliability of the school food checklist for in-school audits and photograph analysis of children's packed lunches, in Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 23(1), 48-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.00996.x

Intelligent obesity interventions using smartphones, in Preventitive medicine, 51(6), 519-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.09.004


Maternal psychosocial predictors of controlling parental feeding styles and practices, in Appetite, 53(3), 384-389. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.08.001

A cognitive behavioural intervention for overweight and obese adolescents illustrated by four case studies, in Behaviour Change, 26(3), 190-213. doi: 10.1375/bech.26.3.190

Health-related quality of life in obese children and adolescents, in International Journal of Obesity, 33(4), 387-400. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.42


Cognitive behavioral therapy improves diet and body composition in overweight and obese adolescents, in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(5), 1134-1140. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2008.06.019

Treatment alternatives for overweight and obesity: The role of online interventions, in Behaviour Change, 25(1), 1-14. doi: 10.1375/bech.25.1.1

Motivational interviewing and cognitive behaviour therapy in the treatment of adolescent overweight and obesity: Study design and methodology, in Contemporary Clincial Trials, 29(3), 359-375. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2007.09.001