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Keywords:

  • eating-disordered pathology;
  • binge eating;
  • questionnaires;
  • child;
  • parent

Abstract

Objective

The assessment of eating-disordered behaviors in middle childhood is challenging. Frequently, both child and parents are queried about the child's eating behavior. However, no direct comparisons between parent and child reports of child eating disturbance have been published. We compared results from the adolescent and parent versions of the Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns (QEWP-A and QEWP-P, respectively) in a nontreatment sample of overweight and normal weight children.

Method

The QEWP-A and QEWP-P were administered to 142 overweight (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 85th percentile) and 121 normal weight (BMI 15th–84th percentile) children, age 9.7 ± 1.9 years, recruited from the community.

Results

The QEWP-A and QEWP-P showed good agreement for the absence of eating-disordered behavior but were not concordant in terms of the number or type of binge eating, overeating episodes, or compensatory weight control behaviors in the past 6 months. Children categorized by their own reports (QEWP-A) as engaging in no overeating, simple overeating, or binge eating behaviors did not differ significantly in body composition or in eating and general psychopathology. Children categorized according to their parents' reports (QEWP-P) as engaging in binge eating had significantly greater body adiposity, eating-disordered cognitions, body dissatisfaction, and parent-reported problems (all ps < .001) than children engaging in no overeating or simple overeating according to the QEWP-P.

Discussion

Child and parent reports of eating behaviors are not concordant regarding the presence of binge eating or compensatory behaviors. Further investigation of the utility of these questionnaires is needed before either can serve as a surrogate for a clinical interview. Published 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 36: 183–194, 2004.