The proof of the pudding is in the eating: Is the DEBQ - External Eating Scale a valid measure of external eating?

A. Jansen*, C. Nederkoorn, A. Roefs, P. Bongers, T. Teugels, R. Havermans

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To test the construct validity and discriminative validity of the widely used Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire's (DEBQ) External Eating (EE) subscale. Method: After being exposed to food cues or not participants completed a bogus taste test. Subjective cue reactivity during food exposure and actual food intake after food exposure were measured. Results: EE scores were unrelated to food intake. A robust main effect of food cue exposure was found but contrary to what was predicted, low EE scorers ate more after food cue exposure than without whereas high EE scorers did not. The actual eating behavior of high and low scorers on the other DEBQ subscales - emotional and restrained eating - demonstrated that the EE also lacks discriminative validity. Discussion: The EE showed no predictive validity and no discriminative validity. The usefulness of the distinction of different types of concerned eaters is questioned. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-168
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ)
  • external eating
  • emotional eating
  • restrained eating
  • food cue exposure
  • cue reactivity
  • craving
  • validity

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