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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 Jul 17;6:41. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-6-41.

Three factor eating questionnaire-R18 as a measure of cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating in a sample of young Finnish females.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.



The aim of the study was to examine the construct validity of the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire -R18 (TFEQ-R18), a measure of eating behaviour, and to evaluate cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating in a sample of adolescent and young adult females of different weights.


Subjects were 2 997 females, aged 17 to 20 years, who participated in a phase III human papillomavirus vaccination trial in Finland in 2004 - 2009.Self-administered questionnaires and weight and height measurements were used. The factor structure of the TFEQ-R18 was verified by factor analysis. Connections between measured eating behaviour and Body Mass Index (BMI) were tested using analysis of variance.


The original factor structure of the TFEQ-R18 was replicated: six of the eighteen items measured cognitive restraint, nine measured uncontrolled eating, and three measured emotional eating. On average, higher BMI was associated with higher levels of cognitive restraint (p < 0.001) and emotional eating (p < 0.001), but not with uncontrolled eating.


Structural validity of the TFEQ-R18 was good in this sample of young Finnish females with a varying range of body weights. Use of the instrument as a measure of eating behaviour was thus corroborated. Connections of restrained and emotional eating with BMI were in accordance with previous findings from young females.

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