The short inventory of grazing (SIG): development and validation of a new brief measure of a common eating behaviour with a compulsive dimension

Andreea I. Heriseanu, Phillipa Hay, Stephen Touyz

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3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Grazing, the repetitious and unplanned eating of small amounts of food with or without a sense of loss of control (LOC), is an eating pattern of recent interest which is highly prevalent in eating disorders and obesity. The current study aimed to (1) assess psychometric properties of a short inventory of grazing (SIG), consisting of a “grazing in general” item and a “compulsive/LOC grazing” item and (2) examine associations between compulsive and non-compulsive grazing and body mass index (BMI), eating disorder psychopathology, distress and health-related quality of life.

Participants recruited from a university and the community (n = 227; 75.3% female; age = 25.00 (9.88; 17.58–57.17) years; BMI = 23.24 (4.91, 14.20–46.06) kg/m2) completed an online test battery including the SIG. Parametric and non-parametric statistics were computed to assess internal consistency, test-retest reliability and construct validity, to test associations between the SIG and the other study variables, and to examine between-group differences.

The SIG demonstrated appropriate psychometric properties. Results indicated that both grazing in general and low-frequency LOC grazing are common; however, LOC grazing of moderate-severe frequency and/or associated with marked distress is unusual. Frequency of LOC grazing, but not grazing in general, was significantly associated with higher BMI, psychological distress, compensatory behaviours and lower mental health-related quality of life. The presence of compulsive grazing was also associated with eating disorder caseness and binge-type eating disorder diagnostic groups.

Results support the positioning of “compulsive” LOC grazing on a continuum of problematic eating. The SIG is a parsimonious measure of this eating pattern of emergent interest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. 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.


  • grazing
  • obesity
  • eating disorders
  • compulsive eating
  • scale validation
  • loss of control over eating
  • quality of life

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