Validation of a New Questionnaire for Eating Disorders

Posted 14/12/2018


This study aims to validate a new questionnaire for people with eating disorders. It will also investigate links between adverse childhood experiences, personality and distress. Please go to:

What is the purpose of the research?

There is good evidence that psychological problems in adulthood result from patterns of thinking and feeling that begin in response to negative early life experiences.  We call these patterns of thinking and feeling ‘core beliefs’ or ‘schemas’.  These patterns influence people’s experiences and behaviours.  Examples of core beliefs include “I am unlovable”, “Other people can’t be trusted” and so on.  Our team’s research has shown that these core beliefs have a major impact on people with eating disorders and how they respond to treatment.  Core beliefs are an important focus for psychological therapy, and we know that they can be changed, softened or their influence reduced.  These changes are associated with improvements in wellbeing and functioning.

Over recent years, mental health researchers have developed ways of assessing these patterns using questionnaires that people can complete in their own time.  These questionnaires can be used to test theories and gain knowledge about how these patterns affect people, leading to developments in treatments. The problem is that at present the questionnaires used to evaluate these patterns are very long (over 120 items) and are not specific to the kinds of patterns seen in people with eating disorders. This team of researchers has developed a shorter form of the questionnaire (64 items) that also has specific patterns of responding that have been observed in people with eating disorders. The aim of this research is to test how well the new shorter measure performs.  A shorter measure will be better for patients, easier to score and more useful in research and clinical practice.

We will also be exploring the relationship between people’s schema modes (patterns of feeling, thinking and behavior) and personality, traumatic experiences and psychological flexibility.  This may inform new ways of identifying and responding to people who have an eating disorder. 

Who can take part?

We are interested in hearing from people with a wide variety of different experiences, including those who have had problems with their eating and those who have not.  You do not need to have experienced an eating disorder or traumatic event during childhood to take part in the current study.  Thus, anyone can take part if they are above 16-years-old and able to give informed consent.

What does the study involve?

You will be required to voluntarily give informed consent before you can begin the study.  You will then be asked to answer a few basic questions at the beginning about your age, weight, height, etc.  You will then be required to complete five questionnaires (two which are eating disorder-related, one which is personality-related, one which asks about childhood experiences and one which asks about psychological processes).  These questionnaires are hosted by a questionnaire tool (Bristol Online Survey) which will take around 30 minutes to complete. You will then be debriefed and provided with information about useful websites and support services.  We will then get in touch with you 1-2 months after you have completed these questionnaires, to ask if you can complete one of the questionnaires again.

How can someone take part?

To take part, please go to:

As a thank you for participating we would like to enter you in a prize draw for the opportunity to win a £100 Amazon voucher.

Author:  Dorothy Tait, Trainee Clinical Psychologist (NHS Scotland/University of Edinburgh)

NHS Scotland