OBJECTIVE: The Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) is a valid and reliable measure of eating-related pathology, but its factor structure has proven difficult to replicate. Given differences in dietary patterns in vegans compared to omnivores, proper measurement of eating disorder symptoms is especially important in studies of animal product avoiders.
METHOD: This study compared goodness-of-fit of five alternative models of the EDE-Q in vegans (i.e., individuals refraining from all animal products, n = 318) and omnivores (i.e., individuals not restricting intake of animal products, n = 200). Confirmatory factor analyses were used to compare fit indices of the original four-factor model of the EDE-Q, along with alternative three-, two-, full one-, and brief one-factor models.
RESULTS: No model provided adequate fit of the data in either sample of respondents. The fit of the brief one-factor model was the closest to acceptable in omnivores, but did not perform as well in vegans. Indicators of fit were comparable in vegans and omnivores across all other models.
DISCUSSION: Our data confirm difficulties in replicating the proposed factor structure of the EDE-Q, including in vegans. More research is needed to determine the suitability of the EDE-Q for quantifying eating behaviors, including in those abstaining from animal products.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
KEYWORDS: Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire; assessment; confirmatory factor analysis; eating disorders; vegan