Jessica Cowan, Psy.D., is a 2020 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle

Dr Jessica Cowan at her February 15, 2020 Dissertation Defense.

L-R: Dr. Shannon Albert, Dr. Cara Dalbey, Dr. Jessica Cowan (with Gambi), and Dr. Chris Heffner

Dissertation Committee

Chris Heffner, Psy.D., Ph.D., Chairperson

Shannon Albert, Psy.D., Committee Member

Cara Dalbey, Psy.D., Committee Member


stigma, provider stigma, eating disorders, coercive and compulsive treatment, survey research, mental illness stigma, eating disorder stigma, eating disorder treatment, involuntary treatment, bioethics, treatment providers, healthcare providers, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, quantitative, non-experimental, ethics

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Stigma toward individuals with eating disorders is common and well-documented. Individuals with eating disorders regularly report experiencing stigma associated with perceptions that they are to blame for their illness, that their illness is trivial compared to other conditions, or that they are engaging in disordered behavior to gain attention. These stigmatizing attitudes toward eating disorders are also reported by the general public and healthcare professionals, including those who treat eating disorders. Treatment of these illnesses at all levels of care often include paternalistic approaches such as coercion and compulsion that can have both adverse and advantageous consequences. While there are ethical, clinical, and legal justifications for these treatment approaches, this study provides a novel exploration of the relationships between stigma toward individuals with eating disorders and coercive and compulsive treatment. This was accomplished using a survey methodology to assess the attitudes and treatment practices of treatment providers across the United States. The results of this study suggest that there is no significant relationship between treatment providers’ attitudes toward individuals with eating disorders and coercive or compulsive treatment methods. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed and center on the need for additional inquiry to better understand the complexities of these two variables in light of the ongoing debate concerning the risks and v benefits of coercive and compulsive treatment. This dissertation is available open access at AURA, and Ohio Link ETD Center,



Dr. Jessica Cowan

ORCHID Scholar ID: 0000-0002-9404-1561


Jessica was born and raised in the western U.S. and currently lives in Seattle, Washington. Prior to earning her doctorate in clinical psychology she was a director of marketing in the legal services industry. Her clinical training experiences include primary care behavioral health at Swedish Medical Group, academic performance coaching at the University of Washington’s Disability Resource Center, and a doctoral internship at Arizona State University’s Counseling and Primary Care Behavioral Health programs. Jessica has specialized interests in clinical supervision, eating disorder treatment, primary care behavioral health, and equine-assisted therapies.