Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26)

Description
The EAT-26 is used to identify the presence of “eating disorder risk” based on attitudes, feelings and behaviours related to eating. There are 26 items assessing general eating behaviour and five additional questions assessing risky behaviours. The measure can be used with adolescents and adults and with special risk samples such as athletes.
The scale has three subscales:
1. Dieting
2. Bullimia and Food Preoccupation
3. Oral Contr

Validity
While developing the scale Garner et al. (1982) validated it with 160 females with anorexia nervous and compared the results to a sample of 140 healthy females. Thus, the EAT-26 is well-validated with female samples, with scores on the EAT-26 being highly predictive of scores on the original EAT-40. This measure demonstrates high internal consistency (Garner et al., 1982).

Interpretation
Results consist of a total score and three subscales scores:
1) Dieting, 2) Bulimia, 3) Food Preoccupation and Oral Control
Higher scores indicating greater risk of an eating disorder and total scores 20 or above are considered to be in the clinical range. In addition to the raw scores the results are presented as a percentiles based on a healthy female sample (n = 140) and a sample of anorexia nervosa patients (n = 160: Garner et al., 1982). A percentile of about 50 is typical in comparison to the anorexia nervosa group for someone suffering from an eating disorder.

The four behavioural questions (questions 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31) are not included in the calculation of the above scores, but are major risk factors important to the health of people with an eating disorder.

Developer
Garner, D. M., Olmsted, M. P., Bohr, Y., & Garfinkel, P. E. (1982). The eating attitudes test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine, 12(4), 871-878. doi:10.1017/S0033291700049163.