A photo of Abigail L. Matthews.

Clinical Director, Eating Disorders Program, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


About Me


My plans for being an art historian took a back seat when I took some courses in psychology and found a passion there. When I did a rotation with high-risk adolescents, it just felt right. I loved working with teens, especially those with complex challenges. Then, over the course of my training, my interests turned to eating disorders.

As a psychologist, I specialize in treating youth and young adults with eating disorders. Contrary to common belief, people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and body types develop eating disorders. Parents are not the cause and patients often do get better and lead meaningful lives. I am committed to providing evidence-based care and helping patients and families overcome eating disorders.

I practice family-based treatment with a focus on how the entire family can support the youth in their recovery. Family is the key resource, so I focus on providing parents with the tools they need to best support their child. I also help the youth learn ways to express their needs and wants throughout the treatment process.

For young adults with eating disorders, I integrate evidence-based treatments with a particular emphasis on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This modality focuses on ways to live a meaningful life, while also navigating day-to-day challenges. Regardless of the patient's age or treatment approach, my care philosophy is to align with the patient and family, respect their needs and wants, and work together as a team. It is a privilege to care for youth and their families, and I greatly value my work.

In 2017, I became the clinical director of the inpatient Eating Disorders Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus. In this role, I developed a comprehensive treatment intervention to give families the skills to help their child recover after hospital discharge. I also lead the multidisciplinary team in strategies to provide optimal mental health care to youth during admissions.

My primary research centers on the well-being of caregivers and siblings in families of youth with eating disorders, and inpatient mental health interventions for youth hospitalized with medical complications of eating disorders. I hope to identify new ways to better support families when a child has an eating disorder.

In my free time, I am highly invested in relaxing and being present in the moment. I don't particularly appreciate having a schedule with lots of activities planned, and I am a homebody who treasures time with my family. I read contemporary fiction novels voraciously, take long walks with my daughter and dog, and I greatly value sleeping.

Clinical Interests

Eating disorders in youth and young adults; anxiety disorders

Research Interests

Family based treatment of eating disorders; family and caregiver well-being in eating disorders treatment

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

Behavioral Medicine, Adolescent Medicine

Blog Posts

5 Next Steps When You Suspect A Loved One Has An Eating Disorder

BlogChild Development and Behavior

5 Next Steps When You Suspect A Loved One Has An Eating Disorder

By Abigail Matthews, PhD2/26/2018

My Locations

My Education

PhD: State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY, 2009.

MHA: Masters in Health Administration, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2018.

Residency: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 2009.

Fellowship: Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, 2011.

My Publications

Eating disorder severity and psychological morbidity in adolescents with anorexia nervosa or atypical anorexia nervosa and premorbid overweight/obesity. Matthews, A; Kramer, RA; Mitan, L. Eating and Weight Disorders. 2021.

Atomoxetine Reduced Binge/Purge Symptoms in a Case of Anorexia Nervosa Binge/Purge Type. Wilfahrt, RP; Wilfahrt, LG; Matthews Hamburg, A. Clinical Neuropharmacology. 2021; 44:68-70.

Modifiable factors associated with mental health symptoms in siblings of adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Matthews, A; Peterson, CM; Lenz, K; Kramer, RA; Mara, C; Copps, E; Mitan, L. Eating and Weight Disorders. 2020.

Exploring the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire in treatment seeking transgender youth. Peterson, CM; Toland, MD; Matthews, A; Mathews, S; Thompson, F; Conard, LA E. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. 2020; 7:304-315.

Dialectical behavioral therapy skills group as an adjunct to family-based therapy in adolescents with restrictive eating disorders. Peterson, CM; Van Diest, AM K; Mara, CA; Matthews, A. Eating Disorders. 2020; 28:67-79.

Lisdexamfetamine in Pediatric Binge Eating Disorder: A Retrospective Chart Review. Guerdjikova, AI; Blom, TJ; Mori, N; Matthews, A; Cummings, T; Casuto, LL; McElroy, SL. Clinical Neuropharmacology. 2019; 42:214-216.

Adolescent males with atypical anorexia nervosa and premorbid obesity: three case reports. Matthews, A; Peterson, CM; Mitan, L. Eating and Weight Disorders. 2019; 24:963-967.

An intensive family-based treatment guided intervention for medically hospitalized youth with anorexia nervosa: Parental self-efficacy and weight-related outcomes. Matthews, A; Peterson, CM; Peugh, J; Mitan, L. European Eating Disorders Review. 2019; 27:67-75.

When Outpatient Care Is Not Enough: Successful Use of an Inpatient Behavioral Intervention for a Child With ARFID. Lenz, KR; Mitan, LA; Kleinhenz, SR; Matthews, A. Clinical Case Studies. 2018; 17:469-481.

Caregiver burden and illness perceptions in caregivers of medically hospitalized youth with anorexia nervosa. Matthews, A; Lenz, KR; Peugh, J; Copps, EC; Peterson, CM. Eating Behaviors. 2018; 29:14-18.