School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Dr Gemma Witcomb BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGCAP, FHEA

Photo of Dr Gemma Witcomb

Gemma Witcomb is a Lecturer in Psychology. She gained a First Class degree from Loughborough in 1998, and was awarded the Sir Robert Martin faculty prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She went on to complete a PhD (part-time) in 2005 while working as a full-time Research Associate. After a period working abroad and having children, she returned to Loughborough in 2011.

Gemma is a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She teaches on the BSc undergraduate Psychology degree in the areas of Developmental and Social Psychology, The Psychology of Eating Behaviour, Clinical Psychology, and Parenting and Socialisation. Gemma supervises undergraduate, MRes, and PhD student projects in various areas related to mental health and wellbeing.

Gemma is also the Warden of Cayley Hall of Residence on campus. 

Gemma’s research focuses on understanding and promoting mental health and wellbeing, and as a consequence physical health, and the interplay between the two. Gemma works in areas including eating disorders, transgender health, and is building expertise in trauma and resilience. Examples of current research projects include an investigation of the efficacy of exercise interventions for reducing Binge Eating Disorder, the role of gender in threat perception within military and non-military populations, and the development of interventions to reduce PTSD risk. She also has a strong passion for understanding and encouraging healthy child feeding practices and is co-creator of the Child Feeding Guide (a website, app, and associated resources for parents, health professionals, and childcare staff) and the Feeding A Baby educational intervention for young mums and teens.


  • Second prize for poster presentation awarded at the Loughborough University Research Conference: Research That Matters. Loughborough University (2012).
  • Recipient of Junior Researcher Bursary awarded by the British Feeding and Drinking Group (2003, 2004, and 2005).


  • Motivated not manipulated: Using psychoeducation to increase mothers' underlying motivation to breastfeed. Funded by the British Academy. Dr Emma Haycraft and Dr Gemma Witcomb.
  • Development of a mobile app to help parents feed their fussy kids. Funded by Loughborough University Enterprise Progect Group. Dr Gemma Witcomb, Dr Claire Farrow and Dr Emma Haycraft.
  • The feeding your Baby manual: A psychoeducational approach to promoting breastfeeding in teenages and young peeople. Funded by Loughborough Univeristy Enterprise Project Group. Dr Gemma Witcomb & Dr Emma Haycraft
  • Tops and tools for child feeding: A half day training and market-testing event for healthcare professionals. Funded by Loughborough University Enterprise Project Group. Dr Emma Haycraft & Dr Gemma Witcomb.
  • Tips and tools for child feeding: A half day training and market-testing even for childcare providers. Funded by Loughborough University Enterprise Project Group. Dr Emma Haycraft & Dr Gemma Witcomb

Journal referee

  • Appetite
  • European Eating Disorders Review
  • International Journal of Obesity
  • Journal of Obesity
  • Journal of the American Dietetic Association
  • Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Plos One
  • Journal of Applied Social Psychology

Other evidence of esteem

  • Sir Robert Martin Faculty (Science) Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement (Loughborough University), 2001.
  • Winner of the 2014 Loughborough University Enterprise Awards for Social Impact.
  • Runner up in 2015 Loughborough University Enterprise Awards Top of the Apps award.
  • Co-creator of The Child Feeding Guide, a free website and mobile app to support healthy child feeding. It is endorsed by the NHS and British Heart Foundation, referenced in parenting books, and promoted by Tesco Living magazine and many large parenting media outlets (eg NetMums).

Learned Societies and Professional Affiliations

  • Chartered member of the British Psychological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Feeding and Drinkng Group


  • Bouman, W.P., Davey, A., Meyer, C., Witcomb, G.L., & Arcelus, J. (in press). Predictors of psychological well-being among trans individuals. Sexual & Relationship Therapy.
  • Farrow, C.V. & Witcomb, G.L. Failure to thrive. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. Amy E. Wenzel.
  • Bouman, W.P., Claes, L., Marshall, E., Pinner, G.T., Longworth, J., Maddox, V., Witcomb, G., Jimenez-Murcia, S., Fernandez-Aranda, F., & Arcelus, J.  (2016). Socio-demographic variables, clinical features and the role of pre-assessment cross-sex hormones in older trans people. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(4), 711-719.
  • Arcelus.J., Claes, L., Witcomb, G.L., Marshall, E., & Bouman, W.P. (2016). Risk Factors for Non Suicidal Self Injury among Trans Youth. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(3), 402-412.
  • Arcelus, J., Bouman, W.P., Van Den Noortgate, W., Claes, L., Witcomb, G.L., & Fernandez-Aranda, F. (2015). Systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence studies in transsexualism. European Psychiatry, 30(6), 807-815.
  • Marshall, E., Claes, L., Bouman, W., Witcomb, G.L., & Arcelus, J. (2015). Non-suicidal self-injury and suicidality in trans people: a systematic review of the literature. International Review of Psychiatry, 28(1), 58-69.
  • Arcelus, J., Bouman, W.P., Van Den Noorgate, W., Claes, L., Witcomb, G.L., & Fernandez-Aranda(2015). Prevalence of transsexualism: A meta-analysis. European Psychiatry Review, 30(6), 807-815.
  • Witcomb, G.L., Bouman, W.P., Brewin, N., Richards, C., Fernandez-Aranda, F., & Arcelus, J. (2015). Body image dissatisfaction and eating-related psychopathology in trans individuals: A matched control study. European Eating Disorders Review, 23(4), 287-293. See comment in PubMed Commons below
  • Moragas, L., Granero, R., Stinchfield, R., Fernandez-Aranda, F., Froberg, F., Aymami, N., Gomez-Peña, M., Fagundo, A.B., Islam, M.A., del Pino-Gutierrez, A., Aguera, Z., Savvidou, L.G., Arcelus, J., Witcomb, G.L., Sauchelli, S., Menchon, J.M., & Jimenez-Murcia, S. (2015). Comparative analysis of distinct phenotypes in gambling disorder based on gambling preferences. BMC Psychiatry, 15, 86.
  • Claes, L., Bouman, W.P., Witcomb, G.L., Thurston, M., Fernandez-Aranda, F., & Arcelus, J. (2015). Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Transsexualism: Associations with Psychological Symptoms, Victimization, Interpersonal Functioning and Perceived Social Support. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12(1), 168-179.
  • Arcelus, J., Witcomb, G.L., & Mitchell, A. (2014). Prevalence of eating disorders amongst dancers: A meta-analysis. European Eating Disorders Review, 22(2), 92-101.
  • Witcomb, G.L., Arcelus, J. & Chen, J. (2013). Thin-ideal idealisation across cultures: What can be learnt from Western prevention efforts? Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry, 25(6), 332-341.
  • Farrow, C., Haycraft, E., & Mitchell, G. (2013). Milk feeding, solid feeding and obesity risk: a review of the relationships between early life feeding practices and later adiposity. Current Obesity Reports, 2(1), 58-64.
  • Mitchell, G.L., Farrow, C., Haycraft, E., & Meyer, C. (2013). Parental influences on children’s eating behaviour and characteristics of successful parent-focussed interventions. Appetite, 60, 85-94.
  • Crook, C. & Mitchell, G.L. (2012). Ambience in social learning: student engagement with new designs for learning spaces. Cambridge Journal of Education, 42, 121-139.
  • Brunstrom, J.M. & Mitchell, G.L. (2007). Flavor-nutrient learning in restrained and unrestrained eaters.  Physiology and Behavior, 90, 133-144.
  • Brunstrom, J.M. & Mitchell, G.L. (2006). Effects of distraction on the development of satiety. British Journal of Nutrition, 96, 761-769.
  • Mitchell, G.L. & Brunstrom, J.M. (2005). Everyday dietary behaviour and the relationship between attention and meal size. Appetite, 45, 344-355.
  • Brunstrom, J.M., Davidson, C.L., & Mitchell, G.L. (2005). Dietary restraint and cognitive impairments in children. Appetite, 45, 235-241.
  • Brunstrom, J.M., Mitchell, G.L., & Baguley, T.S. (2005). Potential early-life predictors of dietary behaviour in adulthood: a retrospective study. International Journal of Obesity, 29, 463-474.
  • Brunstrom, J.M., Higgs, S., & Mitchell, G.L. (2005). Dietary restraint and US devaluation predict evaluative learning. Physiology & Behavior, 85, 524-535.
  • Brunstrom, J.M., Yates, H.M., & Witcomb, G.L. (2004). Dietary restraint and heightened reactivity to food. Physiology & Behavior, 81, 85-90.
  • Brunstrom, J.M. & Witcomb, G.L. (2004). Automatic and non-automatic processes in dietary restraint: Further evidence for a commonality between food and drug abstinence. Eating Behaviors, 5, 365-373.

INVITED ARTICLES – in specialist publications

  • Haycraft, E., Witcomb, G. & Farrow, C. (2015). Supporting families with a fussy eater. Community Practitioner, 88(4), 24-27.
  • Haycraft, E., Witcomb, G. & Farrow, C. (2015). The Child Feeding Guide: A helpful resource for families who are worried about children’s fussy eating. Network Health Dietitians: The Dietitians’ Magazine, 102, 14-18.
  • Haycraft, E., Witcomb, G. & Farrow, C. (2015). Fussy eaters: Are you making a meal out of child feeding? Teach Nursery, 5.2, 57.
  • Haycraft, E., Witcomb, G. & Farrow, C. (2014). Making a meal out of child feeding?  Home Childcarer: The magazine for childminders and nannies, 13, 22-23.