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J Psychosom Res. 1990;34(2):223-31.

The construction and preliminary validation of a scale for measuring eating disorders.

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Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, U.K.


The present paper reports on the construction and validation of a new scale for measuring eating disorders, the Eating Habits Questionnaire (EHQ), which is designed to assess not only existing disorders but also the likelihood of developing such disorders. The EHQ was initially validated on a large sample of university students, followed by further tests of reliability and validity amongst a number of both eating-disordered and normal comparison groups. Factor analysis of the initial item pool produced a 57-item, three-factor structure concerned with weight and dieting, restrained eating patterns, and overeating. Concurrent validation confirmed anticipated relationships with existing self-report scales, and the EHQ was found to be both internally consistent and stable over time. The new scale distinguished reliably between diagnosed eating-disordered patients and normal subjects, and results indicated that around 5% of undiagnosed female undergraduates scored in the same range as the patient population.

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