The Predictive Validity of the DEBQ-External Eating Scale For Eating in Response to Food Commercials While Watching Television

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To challenge the conclusion by Jansen et al., Int J Eat Disord 2011; 44:164–168, that the widely used Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ) External Eating subscale (DEBQ-EX) lacks validity for external eating, because of limitations of that study.


In a seminaturalistic setting we measured participants' intake of crisps and M&Ms while they watched food commercials or neutral commercials spliced into a film. To avoid misclassification due to the use of median splits we used extreme scores on the DEBQ-ex (n = 60) in addition to the full range of scores (n = 125).


As was expected, high external eaters in the food commercial condition ate more crisps than did high external eaters in the neutral commercial condition, whereas low external eaters did not eat more crisps in one condition than in the other. No such moderator effect was found for emotional eating. No significant moderator effect was found for external eating in the original sample (n = 125) using the median-split procedure.


The DEBQ scale for external eating has validity and specificity for external eating provided that the participants have sufficiently extreme external eating scores and a natural setting is used. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)

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