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Behav Res Ther. 2008 May;46(5):612-22. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2008.02.003. Epub 2008 Feb 14.

Screening for eating disorders in primary care: EDE-Q versus SCOFF.

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  • 1School of Psychological Science, LaTrobe University, Bundoora Victoria 3086, Australia.



The comparative validity of the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) (22 items) and SCOFF (five items) in screening for cases of the more commonly occurring eating disorders was examined in a primary care sample of young adult women (n=257). Diagnoses were confirmed in a sub-group of interviewed participants (n=147).


Twenty-five cases, primarily variants of bulimia nervosa (BN) not meeting formal diagnostic criteria, were identified in the interviewed sample. An EDE-Q global score of >or= 2.80 yielded the optimal trade-off between sensitivity (Se) (0.80) and specificity (Sp) (0.80) (positive predictive value (PPV)=0.44), whereas a score of two or more positive responses on the SCOFF was optimal (Se=0.72, Sp=0.73, PPV=0.35). Validity coefficients for both measures varied as a function of participants' age and body weight, although these effects were more pronounced for the SCOFF.


Both measures performed well in terms of their ability to detect cases and to exclude non-cases of the more commonly occurring eating disorders in a primary care setting. The EDE-Q performed somewhat better than the SCOFF and was more robust to effects on validity of age and weight. These findings need to be weighed against the advantage of the SCOFF in terms of its brevity.

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