Trends in Professionals’ Use of Eating Disorder Assessment Instruments

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Abstract

Anderson and Paulosky (2004) found that few eating disorder (ED) professionals regularly used validated ED assessments, and a considerable percentage relied solely on clinical interactions and unstructured clinical interviews throughout ED treatment. The present study aimed to replicate and update Anderson and Paulosky’s findings on the assessment practices of ED professionals. ED professionals (N = 116) completed a questionnaire examining assessment methods used during ED treatment and perceived reliability and usefulness of ED assessments. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests were used to describe the current use of ED assessments and compare findings with those reported by Anderson and Paulosky. The use of self-report measures of eating symptomatology was more common than a decade ago during early assessment and for diagnosis and the evaluation of treatment outcome. The Eating Disorder Examination and Eating Disorder Examination–Questionnaire were the most commonly reported structured clinical interview and self-report measure, respectively; their use was significantly higher than a decade ago during early assessment and for diagnosis. Use of behavioral tests did not change, and use of projective tests decreased during early assessment and for diagnosis. Interestingly, the sole use of unstructured clinical interviews and clinical interactions was not different from a decade ago during any phase of treatment. Future research should examine barriers to validated assessment use and identify resources to address them.

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