Eating self-efficacy: validation of a new brief scale



Eating self-efficacy (ESE) is the belief in one’s ability to self-regulate eating. Social and emotional situations may be differently challenging depending on the individual eating habits, body mass index and affects. Several ESE scales have been developed but most of them focus on weight management, dieting or healthy eating. The aim of the study was to validate a new brief scale assessing ESE in situations in which people face social or emotional pressures for excessive food intake.


Study 1: A sample of 412 volunteer females (age M = 25.44 ± 5.03) completed a first 25-item version of the scale. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted for selecting a subgroup of items composing the ESE brief scale (ESEBS). Study 2 assessed its psychometric properties through a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), analyzing the responses of 410 volunteer adults (273 females, 137 males).


EFA of Study 1 evidenced a bifactorial structure. Four items for each factor were selected, explaining 63% of the variance. Study 2 confirmed the good fit of the bifactorial model (CFI = 0.9589; χ2 (19) = 62.852, p < 0.001; RMSEA = 0.075; SRMR = 0.040) and provided support for the measurement invariance of the scale across gender. The internal consistency was as follows: Social (α = 0.786), Emotional (α = 0.820). The concurrent validity of the subscales was demonstrated by significant latent negative correlations with measures of eating disorders and emotional eating.


The 8-items ESEBS appears as a valid and reliable instrument to assess eating self-efficacy related to social and emotional situations. Future studies should evaluate its potential use in non-clinical and clinical research and interventions.

Level of evidence

Level V, descriptive cross-sectional study.

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Correspondence to Caterina Lombardo.

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Lombardo, C., Cerolini, S., Alivernini, F. et al. Eating self-efficacy: validation of a new brief scale. Eat Weight Disord 26, 295–303 (2021).

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  • Eating self-efficacy
  • Eating behaviour
  • Scale
  • Validation
  • Factorial analysis