Preliminary Validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale

Appetite. 2009 Apr;52(2):430-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.12.003. Epub 2008 Dec 11.

Abstract

Previous research has found similarities between addiction to psychoactive substances and excessive food consumption. Further exploration is needed to evaluate the concept of "food addiction," as there is currently a lack of psychometrically validated measurement tools in this area. The current study represents a preliminary exploration of the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), designed to identify those exhibiting signs of addiction towards certain types of foods (e.g., high fat and high sugar). Survey data were collected from 353 respondents from a stratified random sample of young adults. In addition to the YFAS, the survey assessed eating pathology, alcohol consumption and other health behaviors. The YFAS exhibited adequate internal reliability, and showed good convergent validity with measures of similar constructs and good discriminant validity relative to related but dissimilar constructs. Additionally, the YFAS predicted binge-eating behavior above and beyond existing measures of eating pathology, demonstrating incremental validity. The YFAS is a sound tool for identifying eating patterns that are similar to behaviors seen in classic areas of addiction. Further evaluation of the scale is needed, especially due to a low response rate of 24.5% and a non-clinical sample, but confirmation of the reliability and validity of the scale has the potential to facilitate empirical research on the concept of "food addiction".

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis*
  • Bulimia / diagnosis
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Connecticut
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Emotions
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students
  • Sucrose
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Sucrose