Validation of the SCOFF questionnaire for eating disorders in a multiethnic general population sample

Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Apr;48(3):312-6. doi: 10.1002/eat.22373. Epub 2014 Dec 12.


Introduction: This study aimed to validate the SCOFF, an eating disorders (ED) screening questionnaire, in a multiethnic general population sample of adults.

Method: A two-stage design was employed using the South East London Community Health Study phases I and II data. A total of 1,669 participants were screened using the SCOFF in SELCoHI, and 145 were administrated an ED clinical interview in SELCoHII. We explored the diagnostic validity of the questionnaire restricting to the 145 individuals with the clinical questionnaire.

Results: Sensitivity and specificity of the SCOFF were 53.7 and 93.5%, respectively.

Conclusion: The SCOFF showed good levels of specificity but low sensitivity, resulting in a high percentage of false negatives. Given the low sensitivity found in our sample the SCOFF is likely to be a suboptimal measure for the identification of ED in the community.

Keywords: SCOFF; diagnostic validity; eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult