The loss of control over eating scale: Development and psychometric evaluation

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ABSTRACT

Objective

This study describes the development, content validity, and convergent validity of the Loss of Control over Eating Scale (LOCES).

Method

An initial pool of 56 items covering 13 facets of loss-of-control eating was assembled by reviewing qualitative literature, clinical descriptions, and research on binge eating. Eating disorder experts (n = 34) and eating disorder clients (n = 22) rated each proposed item's clarity and relevance to the construct of loss-of-control eating, rated 13 facets for their relevance to the construct, and provided open-ended feedback about the items and facets. Based on the experts' and clients' quantitative and qualitative feedback, scale items were clarified, 28 items were added, and 10 were deleted. University students (n = 476; 70% female, mean age = 20.4 years) completed the resulting 74-item questionnaire, rating how often they had the experience identified in the item while eating in the last 4 weeks. They also completed the measures of eating disturbance, general distress, functional impairment, and general self-control.

Results

The resulting 24-item LOCES (Cronbach's α = .96) retained items with highest item–total correlations and coverage of the 12 construct facets that experts rated as important. The LOCES was significantly correlated with eating disturbances, general distress, functional impairment, and general self-control. Three subfactors were identified: behavioral, cognitive/dissociative, and positive/euphoric aspects of loss-of-control eating. A brief, seven-item version of the LOCES was developed and validated.

Discussion

A thorough process of development, content validation, and psychometric evaluation in multiple samples yielded the multifaceted LOCES and its brief form. These instruments may be useful in assessing loss-of-control eating in both clinical and nonclinical settings. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:647–659)

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