Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)
Methods: 422 college women [Age: M=20.21, SD=1.91; African Americans =228 (52%), Caucasians = 182 (43%)] voluntarily participated in a 14-page questionnaire. In addition to the EAT-26 scale, three psychological constructs such as self-esteem, internalized shame, and self-objectification were included to test validity with the EAT-26. Only 5% (n=24) of participants reported to have ever been treated for an eating disorder in this sample.
Results: Preliminary item analysis detected five deviant items affecting overall reliability level. After deleting those weak items, the alpha level was elevated from .89 to .93. The prior three-factor model with 26 items showed a poor model fit (CFI = .85, RMSEA = .08). Subsequent CFA results for the four-factor model with final 21 items showed acceptable fit indices (CFI =.93, RMSEA =.06). This study also indicated that the EAT-26 scale is strongly positively correlated with appearance-related self-objectification (r = .30) and internalized shame (r = .47), but is weakly negatively associated with self-esteem (r = -.181). Additional discriminant analysis result revealed that 78.8% of the non-treated group was correctly classified, while 80% of the ever-treated group was correctly classified.
Implications: Although the four-factor model with 21 items shows promising validity, future research is needed to explore the nature of each factor differently identified by different ethnic groups. We also suggest that findings from the present study should be used to start comprehensive validation of a measure of eating attitude for use in non-clinical young female adults, rather than assume that validation of a 21-item four-factor EAT is complete.
Reference: Garner, D.M., Olmstead, M.P., Bohr, Y., & Garfinkel, P.E. (1982). The eating attitude test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine, 12, 871-8.