The validity of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire: Some critical remarks

S. E. Domoff, M. R. Meers, A. M. Koball, D. R. Musher-Eizenman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent debate has considered the validity of self-reports and laboratory-based behavioral measures of emotional eating. This paper reviews the literature on self-reported emotional eating and actual eating behavior (i.e., examines the concurrent validity). As detailed in the review, the literature suggests mixed findings on the correspondence between these self-reports and actual eating behavior. Based on this, we cite characteristics of studies that support the concurrent validity of the DEBQ and address possible reasons for the lack of concurrent validity in other studies, as well as concerns about the measurement of emotional eating in the laboratory. Two reasons for the lack of concurrent validity of self-report emotional eating scales identified in this review include (1) methodological/ experimental design flaws and (2) the variability of emotional eating based on participant characteristics. We argue that further research on emotional eating needs to address factors related to self-reports of emotional eating and objective emotional eating behavior (e.g., negative affect, inaccurate recall of eating behaviors, sample differences, and laboratory design). We conclude with recommendations for future research on emotional eating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • DEBQ
  • Dutch eating behavior questionnaire
  • Emotional eating
  • Measurement
  • Validity


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