Introduction: Emotions have a powerful effect on our choice of food and eating habits. It has been found that in some people there is relationship between eating, emotions and the increased energy intake. This relationship should be measurable to better understand how food is used to deal with certain mood states and how these emotions affect the effectiveness of weight loss programs.
Objective: To develop and analyze the psychometric characteristics of a questionnaire on emotional eating for obesity easy to apply in clinical practice.
Subjects and methods: A ten-item questionnaire called Emotional-Eater-Questionnaire (EEQ) was developed and administered to a total of 354 subjects (body mass index, 31 ± 5), aged 39 ± 12, who were subjected to a weight-reduction program. The questionnaire was specifically designed for obesity. Analysis of the internal structure, internal consistency, test-retest reliability and convergent validity with Mindful-Eater-Questionnaire (MEQ) were conducted.
Results: After principal components analysis, the questionnaire was classified in three different dimensions that explained 60% of the total variance: Disinhibition, Type-of-food and Guilt. Internal consistency showed that Cronbach's alpha was 0.773 for the "Dishinibition" subscale, 0.656 for the "Type of food" subscale and 0.612 for the "Guilt" subscale. The test-retest stability was r = 0.70. The data showed that the percentage of agreement between the EEQ and the MEQ was around 70% with a Kappa index of 0.40; P < 0.0001.
Conclusion: We have presented a new questionnaire, which classifies individuals as a function of the relation between food intake and emotions. Such information will permit personalized treatments to be designed by drawing up early strategies from the very beginning of treatment programmes.