Comparison of assessments of children's eating-disordered behaviors by interview and questionnaire

Authors

  • Marian Tanofsky-Kraff,

    1. Unit on Growth and Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland
    2. Department of Psychology, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
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  • Christina M. Morgan,

    1. Unit on Growth and Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland
    2. Departamento de Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Susan Z. Yanovski,

    1. Unit on Growth and Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland
    2. Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Cheri Marmarosh,

    1. Department of Psychology, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
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  • Denise E. Wilfley,

    1. Departments of Psychiatry, Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
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  • Jack A. Yanovski

    Corresponding author
    1. Unit on Growth and Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland
    2. United States Public Health Service, Bethesda, Maryland
    • Unit on Growth and Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Building 10, Room 10N262 MSC 1862, Bethesda, MD 20892-1862
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Abstract

Objective

In adults, interview methods may detect eating-disordered behaviors more accurately than self-report methods. However, no studies have investigated the relationships between interview and self-report assessments in children. We compared results from the Eating Disorder Examination adapted for Children (ChEDE) with the Adolescent version of the Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns (QEWP-A) and with the Children's Eating Attitude Test (ChEAT) in a nontreatment sample of overweight and normal weight children.

Method

The ChEDE, QEWP-A, and ChEAT were administered to 46 overweight (body mass index [BMI] at or above the 85th percentile) and 42 normal weight (BMI at the 15th–85th percentile) children, 10 ± 1.8 years, recruited from the community.

Results

The ChEDE and QEWP-A were not concordant for the number or type of eating episodes that occurred in the past month. Compared with the ChEDE, the QEWP-A was reasonably specific, but it was not sensitive for the presence of objective (17 % sensitivity, 91% specificity) or subjective bulimic episodes (0 % sensitivity, 89 % specificity) during the past month. ChEDE and ChEAT global scores were significantly related (Kendall's tau = 0.286, p < .001), but specific items assessing guilt in relation to eating and preoccupation with food were not.

Discussion

Although self-report methods of eating disorder assessment in children may provide some general information regarding eating psychopathology in non-treatment-seeking children, they do not accurately reflect the results of a structured interview. Published 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.† Int J Eat Disord 33: 213–224, 2003.

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