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.
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- Binge eating
- Eating disorders