Beliefs about binge eating: psychometric properties of the eating beliefs questionnaire (EBQ-18) in eating disorder, obese, and community samples

Amy L. Burton, Deborah Mitchison*, Phillipa Hay, Brooke Donnelly, Christopher Thornton, Janice Russell, Jessica Swinbourne, Christopher Basten, Mandy Goldstein, Stephen Touyz, Maree J. Abbott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Binge eating is a core diagnostic feature of bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa binge/purge type, and is a common feature of “other specified” and “unspecified” feeding and eating disorders. It has been suggested that specific metacognitive beliefs about food, eating, and binge eating may play a key role in the maintenance of binge eating behaviour. The Eating Beliefs Questionnaire (EBQ-18) provides a brief self-report assessment tool measuring three types of metacognitive beliefs: negative, positive, and permissive beliefs about food and eating. This study aimed to build on past research by validating the factor structure and psychometric properties of the EBQ-18 using both a clinical and non-clinical sample. A sample of 688 participants (n = 498 non-clinical participants, n = 161 participants seeking treatment for an eating disorder, and n = 29 participants seeking treatment for obesity) completed a battery of questionnaires, including the EBQ-18 and other measures of eating disorder symptoms and relevant constructs. A subset of 100 non-clinical participants completed the test battery again after an interval of two-weeks, and 38 clinical participants completed the EBQ-18 before and after receiving psychological treatment for their eating disorder. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted and psychometric properties of this measure were assessed. The results of this study provide support for the three-factor model of the EBQ-18. In addition, the EBQ-18 was found to be a valid and reliable measure, with excellent internal consistency, good test-retest reliability in the non-clinical sample, and also demonstrated evidence of sensitivity to treatment in clinical samples with binge eating pathology. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to identify optimal cut-off scores for the EBQ-18. This study provides valuable information about the utility of the EBQ-18 as a measure for use in both clinical and research settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1306
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Binge eating
  • Eating disorders
  • Obesity
  • Psychometric
  • Questionnaire


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