Children’s Eating Attitudes Test: Revised factor structure for adolescent girls

  • Wesley C. Lynch
  • K. Eppers-Reynolds
Original Research Paper


The Eating Attitude Test (EAT) and its language-simplified version for children (ChEAT) have been popular instruments for the assessment of eating attitudes among children, adolescents and young adult females. Objective: Data collected from female adolescents using the ChEAT were analyzed to compare five previously proposed measurement models as well as a new model. Method: Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to directly compare models in terms of their goodness-of-fit indices and to determine which model best fits the overall data (N=737) as well as data from the youngest and oldest girls (N=200 each). Results: A newly proposed 14-item, 5-factor model provided the best fit to the overall data as well as data analyzed separately for the youngest and oldest girls. Furthermore, each of the newly proposed factor scores varied somewhat independently as a function of grade level, with body image concerns increasing most dramatically from grades 5 through 8. This newly proposed model is based on factors previously suggested by others, but not previously combined into a single measurement model. Discussion: Implications of the results for future research involving adolescent girls are discussed, especially research on developmental changes in eating attitudes and behaviors that may constitute risk factors for subsequent eating disorders.


Eating Attitudes Test EAT-26 ChEAT scale development factor analysis confirmatory factor analysis CFA EFA psychometrics 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Garfinkel P.E., Newman A.: The eating attitudes test: twenty-five years later. Eat. Weight Disord., 6, 1–24, 2001.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sands R., Tricker J., Sherman C., Armatas C., Maschette W.: Disordered eating patterns, body image, self-esteem, and physical activity in preadolescent school children. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 21, 159–166, 1997.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Maloney M.J., McGuire J., Daniels S.R., Specker B.: Dieting behavior and eating attitudes in children. Pediatrics 84, 482–489, 1989.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Childress A.C., Brewerton T.D., Hodges E.L., Jarrell M.P.: The kids’ eating disorders survey (KEDS): A study of middle school students. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 32, 843–850, 1993.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Montana Office of Public Instruction. Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey — 1997: Statewide Analysis of Selected Behavior Risk Factors. Helena, Montana, Dodge Data Systems, Inc., 1997.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Montana Office of Public Instruction. Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report — 1997 for Grades 7–8. Helena Montana, Dodge Data Systems, Inc., 1997.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Garner D.M., Garfinkel P.E.: The eating attitudes test: an index of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Psychol. Med., 9, 273–279, 1979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Garner D.M., Olmsted M.P., Bohr Y., Garfinkel P.E.: The eating attitudes test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychol. Med., 12, 871–878, 1982.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wells J.E., Coope P.A., Gabb D.C., Pears R.K.: The factor structure of the Eating Attitudes Test with adolescent schoolgirls. Psychol. Med., 15, 141–146, 1985.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Koslowsky M., Scheinberg Z., Bleich A., Mark M., Apter A., Danon Y., Solomon Z.: The factor structure and criterion validity of the short form of the Eating Attitudes Test. J. Person. Assess., 58, 27–35, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kelly C., Ricciardelli L.A., Clarke J.D.: Problem eating attitudes and behaviors in young children. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 25, 281–286, 1999.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Arbuckle J.L.: Amos 5.0. (5.0). Chicago, IL, SmallWaters Corp., 2003.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Maloney M.J., McGuire J.B., Daniels S.R.: Reliability testing of a children’s version of the Eating Attitude Test. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 27, 541–543, 1988.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Garner D.M., Rockert W., Olmstead M., Johnson C., Coscina D.V.: Psychoeducational principles in the treatment of bulimia and anorexia nervosa. In: Garner D.M., Garfinkel P.E. (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. New York, Guilford, 1985, pp. 513–572.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Smolak L., Levine M.P.: Psychometric properties of the Children’s Eating Attitudes Test. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 16, 275–282, 1994.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Engelsen B.K., Hagtvet K.A.: The dimensionality of the 12-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test. Confirmatory factor analyses. Scand. J. Psychol., 40, 293–300, 1999.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bellerive-Ocker L.M.: Confirmatory factor analysis of the Eating Attitudes Test. University of Houston, 2001.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lavik N.J., Clausen S.E., Pedersen W.: Eating behaviour, drug use, psychopathology and parental bonding in adolescents in Norway. Acta Psychiatr. Scand., 84, 387–390, 1991.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hoyle R.H.: Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues, and applications, 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, 1995.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Browne M.W., Cudeck R.: Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In: Bollen K.A., Long J.S. (Eds.), Testing structural equation models. Newbury Park, CA, Sage, 1993, pp. 136–162.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bollen K.A., Stine R.A.: Bootstrapping Goodness-of-Fit Measures in Structural Equation Models. Socio. Meth. Res., 21, 205–229, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hull J.G., Tedlie J.C., Lehn D.A.: Modeling the relation of personality variables to symptom complaints: The unique role of negative affectivity. In: Hoyle R.H. (Ed.), Structural equation modeling. Concepts, issues, and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, 1995, pp. 217–235.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Miller M.N., Verhegge R., Miller B.E., Pumariega A.J.: Assessment of risk of eating disorders among adolescents in Appalachia. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 38, 437–443, 1999.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Waller G., Slade P., Calam R.: Family adaptability and cohesion: Relation to eating attitudes and disorders. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 9, 225–228, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nasser M.: The validity of the Eating Attitude Test in a non-Western population. Acta Psychiatr. Scand., 73, 109–110, 1986.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rutherford J., McGuffin P., Katz R.J., Murray R.M.: Genetic influences on eating attitudes in a normal female twin population. Psychol. Med., 23, 425–436, 1993.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wood A., Waller G., Miller J., Slade P.: The development of eating attitude test scores in adolescence. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 11, 279–282, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Slay H.A., Hayaki J., Napolitano M.A., Brownell K.D.: Motivations for running and eating attitudes in obligatory versus nonobligatory runners. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 23, 267–275, 1998.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Smead V.S., Richert A.J.: Eating Attitude Test factors in an unselected undergraduate population. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 9, 211–215, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Jones J.M., Bennett S., Olmsted M.P., Lawson M.L., Rodin G.: Disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in teenaged girls: a school-based study. Can. Med. Assoc. J., 165, 547–552, 2001.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Veron-Guidry S., Williamson D.A.: Development of a body image assessment procedure for children and preadolescents. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 20, 287–293, 1996.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Shisslak C.M., Renger R., Sharpe T., Crago M., McKnight K.M., Gray N., Bryson S., Estes L.S., Parnaby O.G., Killen J., Taylor C.B.: Development and evaluation of the McKnight Risk Factor Survey for assessing potential risk and protective factors for disordered eating in preadolescent and adolescent girls. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 25, 195–214, 1999.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Akaike H.: Factor-analysis and AIC. Psychometrika, 52, 317–332, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA

Personalised recommendations