Objective: To develop an effective measure of the symptoms of eating disorders for use in community surveys.
Method: A branched eating disorders instrument for administration by notebook computer was evaluated as a screen in 487 teenage schoolgirls. High scorers and a stratified sample of low scorers were evaluated in a second-stage interview with the Eating Disorders Examination (EDE).
Results: The Branched Eating Disorders Test (BET) proved to have exceptional validity coefficients (sensitivity 100%, specificity 99%, positive predictive value 70%).
Discussion: This pilot validation suggests that the BET largely overcomes the problems of earlier instruments of limited screening utility when applied to community samples.