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

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


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.


Emotional eating Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire DEBQ Validity Measurement 


Conflict of interest

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


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. Domoff
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. R. Meers
    • 1
  • A. M. Koball
    • 1
  • D. R. Musher-Eizenman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan, Institute for Human AdjustmentAnn ArborUSA

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