Psychometric properties of the Portuguese version of the Invalidating Childhood Environment Scale

  • Ana Isabel Vieira
  • Mónica Gonçalves
  • Bárbara César Machado
  • Tânia Rodrigues
  • Paulo P. P. Machado
  • Isabel Brandão
  • Sertório Timóteo
  • Patrícia Nunes
  • Sónia GonçalvesEmail author
Original Article



The current study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the Portuguese version of the invalidating childhood environment scale (ICES) in a non-clinical and clinical sample of eating disorder (ED) patients. This study also investigated the between-sample differences regarding invalidating parental behaviors and family styles and explored the associations between invalidating childhood environments and eating pathology.


A sample of 410 high school and college students and 101 patients with a diagnosis of ED completed self-report measures. Principal component analyses and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to examine the factor structure of the ICES. The internal consistency and the between-sample differences and associations between invalidating childhood environments and eating pathology were also tested.


Principal component analyses and confirmatory factor analyses indicated a two-factor solution for each parent. The ICES demonstrated high internal consistency and was able to differentiate between non-clinical and clinical samples. The perception of parental invalidation was higher in ED patients, and the clinical sample presented higher scores in the chaotic and perfect family styles and lower scores in the validating family style, in comparison with the non-clinical sample. Both maternal invalidation and invalidating styles were significantly associated with a higher ED symptomatology.


The Portuguese version of the ICES revealed adequate psychometric properties. Considering the relationship between invalidation in family and eating pathology, the ICES may be useful in clinical practice, especially among ED patients.

Level of Evidence

Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.


Invalidating environments Eating disorder Reliability Validity Psychometrics 



This research was partially supported by a Foundation for Science and Technology doctoral grant to the first author (SFRH/BD/116974/2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The research was approved by the internal review board of the Research Center of Psychology at the University of Minho (Portugal) and all procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent in writing was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychotherapy and Psychopathology Research Unit, CIPsi, School of PsychologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and Psychology, CEDH, Centre for Studies in Human DevelopmentCatholic University of PortugalPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Psychiatry Department, Faculty of MedicineHospital of S. JoãoPortoPortugal

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