Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 03, 244 - 253

Research article
Validity of the Eating Attitude Test among Exercisers
Helen J. Lane1, Andrew M. Lane2, , Hilary Matheson3
Author Information
1 University of Wales, Newport, UK
2 University of Wolverhampton, UK
3 University of Wales College, Newport, UK

Andrew M. Lane
‚úČ School of Sport, Performing Arts, and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Gorway Road, Walsall, WS1 7BD, UK
Publish Date
Received: 25-06-2004
Accepted: 09-11-2004
Published (online): 01-12-2004
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Theory testing and construct measurement are inextricably linked. To date, no published research has looked at the factorial validity of an existing eating attitude inventory for use with exercisers. The Eating Attitude Test (EAT) is a 26-item measure that yields a single index of disordered eating attitudes. The original factor analysis showed three interrelated factors: Dieting behavior (13-items), oral control (7-items), and bulimia nervosa-food preoccupation (6-items). The primary purpose of the study was to examine the factorial validity of the EAT among a sample of exercisers. The second purpose was to investigate relationships between eating attitudes scores and selected psychological constructs. In stage one, 598 regular exercisers completed the EAT. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test the single-factor, a three-factor model, and a four-factor model, which distinguished bulimia from food pre-occupation. CFA of the single-factor model (RCFI = 0.66, RMSEA = 0.10), the three-factor-model (RCFI = 0.74; RMSEA = 0.09) showed poor model fit. There was marginal fit for the 4-factor model (RCFI = 0.91, RMSEA = 0.06). Results indicated five-items showed poor factor loadings. After these 5-items were discarded, the three models were re-analyzed. CFA results indicated that the single-factor model (RCFI = 0.76, RMSEA = 0.10) and three-factor model (RCFI = 0.82, RMSEA = 0.08) showed poor fit. CFA results for the four-factor model showed acceptable fit indices (RCFI = 0.98, RMSEA = 0.06). Stage two explored relationships between EAT scores, mood, self-esteem, and motivational indices toward exercise in terms of self-determination, enjoyment and competence. Correlation results indicated that depressed mood scores positively correlated with bulimia and dieting scores. Further, dieting was inversely related with self-determination toward exercising. Collectively, findings suggest that a 21-item four-factor model shows promising validity coefficients among exercise participants, and that future research is needed to investigate eating attitudes among samples of exercisers.

Key words: Eating attitudes, model testing, external validity, exercise and health

           Key Points
  • Validity of psychometric measures should be thoroughly investigated. Researchers should not assume that a scale validation on one sample will show the same validity coefficients in a different population.
  • The Eating Attitude Test is a commonly used scale. The present study shows a revised 21-item scale was suitable for exercisers.
  • Researchers using the Eating Attitude Test should use subscales of Dieting, Oral control, Food pre-occupation, and Bulimia.
  • Future research should involve qualitative techniques and interview exercise participants to explore the nature of eating attitudes.
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