The use of the eating disorder examination with children: a pilot study

Int J Eat Disord. 1996 May;19(4):391-7. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199605)19:4<391::AID-EAT6>3.0.CO;2-G.


Objective: This article describes the use of a slightly modified version of the Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) in children.

Methods: Sixteen children aged between 7 and 14 years attending an eating disorders clinic over a 5-month period were recruited to the study. The two main modifications to the EDE were (A) the inclusion of a sort task to assess overvalued ideas about weight and shape and (B) the reformulation of certain items to assess intent rather than actual behavior. The existing EDE scoring system was used, resulting in item, subscale, and global scores.

Results: Of the 16 children (10 F 6 M), 11 had a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, and 5 of eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). There were interesting differences in responses on items assessing core overvalued ideas, with weight and/or shape concerns emerging as of great importance in terms of self-evaluation in the majority of children with anorexia nervosa.

Discussion: Results suggest that this may be a useful assessment tool in children, with some children obtaining global and subscale scores consistent with adult norms for females with eating disorders. Problems of the administration of the EDE to this patient group are discussed and details of the modifications used are outlined.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / classification
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Body Image
  • Child
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / classification
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept