Assessment of loss-of-control eating in healthy youth by interview and questionnaire

Deborah R. Altman, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff*, Lisa M. Shank, Taylor N. Swanson, Eliana Ramirez, Nia A. Moore, Sarah G. Rubin, Meghan E. Byrne, Sarah LeMay-Russell, Natasha A. Schvey, Nichole R. Kelly, Megan N. Parker, Sriram Gubbi, Sheila M. Brady, Susan Z. Yanovski, Jack A. Yanovski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate two questionnaires, an updated youth version of the questionnaire on eating and weight patterns (Questionnaire on Eating and Weight Patterns-5 Children/Adolescent [QEWP-C-5]) and the Loss-of-Control (LOC) Eating Disorder Questionnaire (LOC-ED-Q), against the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) interview to assess the presence of LOC-eating among youth. Method: Two-hundred and eighteen youths (12.8 ± 2.7 years) completed the QEWP-C-5, LOC-ED-Q, and EDE, depressive and anxiety questionnaires, and adiposity assessment. Sensitivity, specificity, positive-predictive value, negative-predictive value, and diagnostic accuracy were calculated; Cochran's Q and McNemar's tests were used to compare measures. Receiver operating characteristic area under the curve (AUC) analyses were performed. Mood and adiposity based on LOC-eating presence and absence based on each measure were examined. Results: The QEWP-C-5 and LOC-ED-Q demonstrated poor sensitivity (33%; 30%) and high specificity (95%; 96%) compared with the EDE. The AUCs suggested neither the QEWP-C-5 (0.64) nor the LOC-ED-Q (0.62) demonstrated acceptable diagnostic accuracy. Comparing distributions of LOC-eating presence between assessments, the QEWP-C-5 and EDE did not differ significantly (p =.10), while the LOC-ED-Q and EDE had significantly different distributions (p =.03). LOC-eating presence was associated with higher depressive and anxiety symptoms across all measures (ps <.02). Greater adiposity (ps <.02) was associated with LOC-eating presence on the EDE and LOC-ED-Q, and higher BMI z-score (p =.02) on the LOC-ED-Q. Discussion: Neither the QEWP-C-5 nor the LOC-ED-Q was sensitive for identifying LOC-eating presence as determined by the EDE, although both were associated with greater mood symptoms. Research is needed to improve self-report questionnaires to better screen for LOC-eating presence among pediatric populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • adiposity
  • adolescents
  • assessment
  • children
  • loss-of-control eating


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