Assessment methods for eating disorders and body image disorders

J Psychosom Res. 2010 Dec;69(6):601-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.05.012. Epub 2009 Sep 23.


The growing interest in the treatment and research of eating disorders has stimulated the development of assessment methods, and there are now many questionnaires for evaluating behavioral and attitudinal characteristics of eating pathology. The present article sets out to review the assessment tools that are widely used in clinical practice and research. In particular, it covers self-report measures with summaries of their psychometric properties. It also presents diagnostic questionnaires based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnostic criteria. The instruments described include screening questionnaires, measurement tools for specific eating disorder symptoms, measurement of quality of life in eating disorders, and some tools for the measurement of body image disorder, a common feature of eating disorders. There is also a discussion of distorting factors that decrease the authenticity of assessment tools. These problems arise from the definition of some constructs and from the phenomena of denial and concealment, which are frequent among eating-disordered individuals. The frequent co-occurrence of other psychopathological features (e.g., multiimpulsive symptoms) shows that other psychological phenomena should also be evaluated in line with the assessment of eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / psychology
  • Body Image
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychometrics