Measuring eating disorder attitudes and behaviors: a reliability generalization study. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Although score reliability is a sample-dependent characteristic, researchers often only report reliability estimates from previous studies as justification for employing particular questionnaires in their research. The present study followed reliability generalization procedures to determine the mean score reliability of the Eating Disorder Inventory and its most commonly employed subscales (Drive for Thinness, Bulimia, and Body Dissatisfaction) and the Eating Attitudes Test as a way to better identify those characteristics that might impact score reliability. METHODS: Published studies that used these measures were coded based on their reporting of reliability information and additional study characteristics that might influence score reliability. RESULTS: Score reliability estimates were included in 26.15% of studies using the EDI and 36.28% of studies using the EAT. Mean Cronbach's alphas for the EDI (total score = .91; subscales = .75 to .89), EAT-40 (total score = .81) and EAT-26 (total score = .86; subscales = .56 to .80) suggested variability in estimated internal consistency. Whereas some EDI subscales exhibited higher score reliability in clinical eating disorder samples than in nonclinical samples, other subscales did not exhibit these differences. Score reliability information for the EAT was primarily reported for nonclinical samples, making it difficult to characterize the effect of type of sample on these measures. However, there was a tendency for mean score reliability to be higher in the adult (vs. adolescent) samples and in female (vs. male) samples. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this study highlights the importance of assessing and reporting internal consistency during every test administration because reliability is affected by characteristics of the participants being examined.

published proceedings

  • J Eat Disord

altmetric score

  • 2.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Gleaves, D. H., Pearson, C. A., Ambwani, S., & Morey, L. C

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Gleaves, David H||Pearson, Crystal A||Ambwani, Suman||Morey, Leslie C

publication date

  • March 2014