The revision of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire


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Title The revision of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire
Period 02 / 2001 - 02 / 2005
Status Completed
Dissertation Yes
Research number OND1291406
Data Supplier Website Radboud Universiteit/CVV


In this project the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, that was developed in 1986 by Tatjana van Strien, is being revised. This questionnaire tries to outline different aspects of eating behaviour and is based on three psychological theories of overeating: Psychosomatic theory, externality theory, and restraint theory. Psychosomatic theory focuses on emotional eating, that is, eating in response to different emotional states hereby neglecting internal states of hunger and satiety. Externality theory focuses on external eating, that is, eating in response to external food cues, regardless of internal states of hunger and satiety. The theory of restraint eating concentrates on dieting as the cause of overeating. The purpose of the research in 1986 was to study the three types of eating behaviour that arise from these three theories and to find out whether patients with an eating disorder could possibly benefit from some treatment methods specifically aimed at their individual eating pattern. Throughout the years researchers all over the world have used the DEBQ in experimental studies on eating behaviour. Reviewing the results of psychometric analyses, the DEBQ can be seen as a reliable as well as a valid instrument, which is often used in (experimental) research on eating behaviour and which still seems to be in line with contemporary views on this topic. However, the question now is whether there are differences in eating behaviour with different emotions? We would like to study whether the emotional eating scale should actually be divided into more subscales measuring specific emotions of anger/frustration, fear or depression. And what kind of emotions are responsible for overeating? Is there a specific group of emotions, for instance only vague and indistinct emotions, that lead to overeating? Or could very clear emotions also trigger this eating response? Also the way in which the questions are presented is not yet very clear. Should we ask for actual eating behaviour, or does intentional eating behaviour give a better image of the eating pattern of the individual? These are questions we want to answer while renewing the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. Also in the last decades the concept of Bulimia Nervosa has played a larger part in eating behaviour studies. Therefore we want to include a subscale measuring eating binges, in which therapists can find information on number of binges and circumstances in which a patient gives in to these situations of total loss of control over eating. Gender issues are of great concern in eating behaviour studies, as problematic eating is much more common in women then in men. We think that the ideal of thinness which the media imposes upon women, contributes to eating problems as well as to emotional problems that women think they can solve through food restriction. And of course the many positions women need to fulfil in their lives as career women, wives and mothers are often razzle-dazzling to them. One way of keeping control over one s life is by clinging to something you can indeed control, the amount of food you eat. Furthermore we think that problematic eating in many cases is linked to psychological problems like a lack of interceptive awareness, that is a non-capability of recognizing and expressing your emotions. How gender issues interact with this phenomenon is also of interest to us.

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Supervisor Prof.dr. C.P.F. van der Staak
Project leader Prof.dr. J.J.L. Derksen
Doctoral/PhD student Drs. K. Horvers


D24300 Nutrition
D51000 Psychology
D69000 Gender studies

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