Nancy L. Zucker, PhD


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Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Director, Duke Center for Eating Disorders
Department / Division:
Psychiatry / Child & Fam Mental Health & Dev Neuro
DUMC 3842
Durham, NC 27710

2608 Erwin Road, Suite 300
Durham, NC 27705
Appointment Telephone:
  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Duke University Medical Center, 2000
  • Clinical Associate, Duke University Medical Center, 1999-2000
  • Behavioral Medicine, National Institutes of Health (Maryland), 2000-2002
Clinical Interests:
Research focused on developing novel treatments for individuals with eating disorders and children who struggle with weight management; integration of family members into effective treatment strategies
Research Interests:
Our laboratory studies individuals who have difficulty detecting, interpreting, and/or using signals from their body and using this information to guide adaptive behavior, particularly in interpersonal contexts. Our primary populations of study are individuals struggling with eating disorders and feeding disorders of childhood: conditions that are sine quo non for dysregulation of basic motivational drives. Several conditions are of particular focus due to the presence of profound deficits in interoception or/and integration of internal arousal: anorexia nervosa, a disorder notable for extreme, determined, rigid, and repetitive behaviors promoting malnourishment and the inability to use signals of interoception and proprioception in the service of goal-directed actions, pediatric binge eating, a model of appetitive dysregulation marked for its early occurrence in the life cycle, and childhood feeding disorders, children who evidence early disturbance in the range of foodstuffs they are willing to sample. Study of children allows us to ask different questions about disorder etiology, maintenance, and course as we can minimize the impact of malnutrition on brain function and perhaps better characterize prior learning history.

Our parallel line of research examines how individuals’ sense others when they have difficulties sensing themselves. Increasing evidence suggests that we understand others via embodied enactments of our own experiences. These findings have profound implications for individuals who have dysfunction in the experience of their bodies as it suggests limited capacities to truly understand others’ experiences. By studying these processes in parallel, we hope to better understand how this interaction between sensing ourselves and others unfolds.
Representative Publications:
  • Mazzeo, SE; Zucker, NL; Gerke, CK; Mitchell, KS; Bulik, CM. Parenting concerns of women with histories of eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2005;37 Suppl:S77-S79.  Abstract
  • Womble, LG; Williamson, DA; Martin, CK; Zucker, NL; Thaw, JM; Netemeyer, R; Lovejoy, JC; Greenway, FL. Psychosocial variables associated with binge eating in obese males and females. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2001;30:217-221.  Abstract
  • Reas, DL; Williamson, DA; Martin, CK; Zucker, NL. Duration of illness predicts outcome for bulimia nervosa: a long-term follow-up study. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2000;27:428-434.  Abstract
  • Williamson, DA; Womble, LG; Zucker, NL; Reas, DL; White, MA; Blouin, DC; Greenway, F. Body image assessment for obesity (BIA-O): development of a new procedure. 2000;24:1326-1332.  Abstract