Preliminary validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale

Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Appetite (Impact Factor: 2.69). 04/2009; 52(2):430-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.12.003
Source: PubMed


Previous research has found similarities between addiction to psychoactive substances and excessive food consumption. Further exploration is needed to evaluate the concept of "food addiction," as there is currently a lack of psychometrically validated measurement tools in this area. The current study represents a preliminary exploration of the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), designed to identify those exhibiting signs of addiction towards certain types of foods (e.g., high fat and high sugar). Survey data were collected from 353 respondents from a stratified random sample of young adults. In addition to the YFAS, the survey assessed eating pathology, alcohol consumption and other health behaviors. The YFAS exhibited adequate internal reliability, and showed good convergent validity with measures of similar constructs and good discriminant validity relative to related but dissimilar constructs. Additionally, the YFAS predicted binge-eating behavior above and beyond existing measures of eating pathology, demonstrating incremental validity. The YFAS is a sound tool for identifying eating patterns that are similar to behaviors seen in classic areas of addiction. Further evaluation of the scale is needed, especially due to a low response rate of 24.5% and a non-clinical sample, but confirmation of the reliability and validity of the scale has the potential to facilitate empirical research on the concept of "food addiction".

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    • "The YFAS is a 25 item tool that assesses addictive-like eating behaviours in the 112 previous twelve months (Gearhardt et al., 2009). The YFAS assesses the presence of 113 seven food addiction 'Symptoms' according the criteria for substance dependence 114 (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: The Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) is a widely used tool to assess the behavioural indicators of addictive-like eating. No studies, however, have used a longitudinal design to determine whether these addictive-like eating behaviours are a stable or transient phenomenon in a community-based population. This study aimed to evaluate whether food addiction Diagnosis and Symptom scores as assessed by the YFAS remain stable over 18-months in a non-clinical population. Young adults aged 18-35 years were recruited from the community to a web-based survey in 2013. The survey included demographics, anthropometrics and the YFAS. Participants who volunteered to be recontacted for future research were invited to complete the same survey 18-months later. The YFAS scoring outputs Diagnosis and Symptom scores were tested for agreement and reliability between the two time points. Of the 303 participants who completed the original survey and agreed to be recontacted, 69 participants (22.8% of those recontacted, 94% female, 67% normal weight at baseline) completed the 18-month follow-up survey. At baseline, thirteen participants met the YFAS predefined criteria for Diagnosis, while eleven participants met these criteria at the 18-month follow-up. YFAS Diagnosis was found to have moderate agreement [K=.50, 95%CI (.23, .77)] between the two time points while Symptom scores had good agreement [K=.70, 95%CI (.54, .83)]. Intraclass correlation coefficients were interpreted as moderate over the 18-month period for both the Diagnosis [ICC=.71, 95%CI (.45, .88)] and Symptom scores [ICC=.72, 95%CI (.58, .82)]. YFAS assessed food addiction Diagnosis and Symptom scores were found to be relatively stable over 18-months in a non-clinical population of predominantly female, young adults. Future research is required to determine the impact of behavioural weight loss interventions on YFAS assessed addictive-like eating.
    Appetite 10/2015; 96. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2015.10.015 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Participants' height and weight were measured in their first laboratory session to confirm self-reported values. Further, participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, Beck et al., 1996) and the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS, Gearhardt et al., 2009), and were excluded from the study when exceeding the cut-off value of 18 on the BDI or meeting the criteria for " Food Addiction " on the YFAS. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research suggests that obesity is linked to prominent alterations in learning and decision-making. This general difference may also underlie the preference for immediately consumable, highly palatable but unhealthy and high-calorie foods. Such poor food-related inter-temporal decision-making can explain weight gain; however, it is not yet clear whether this deficit can be generalized to other domains of inter-temporal decision-making, for example financial decisions. Further, little is known about the stability of decision-making behavior in obesity, especially in the presence of rewarding cues. To answer these questions, obese and lean participants (n = 52) completed two sessions of a novel priming paradigm including a computerized monetary delay discounting task. In the first session, general differences between groups in financial delay discounting were measured. In the second session, we tested the general stability of discount rates. Additionally, participants were primed by affective visual cues of different contextual categories before making financial decisions. We found that the obese group showed stronger discounting of future monetary rewards than the lean group, but groups did not differ in their general stability between sessions nor in their sensitivity toward changes in reward magnitude. In the obese group, a fast decrease of subjective value over time was directly related to a higher tendency for opportunistic eating. Obese in contrast to lean people were primed by the affective cues, showing a sex-specific pattern of priming direction. Our findings demonstrate that environments rich of cues, aiming at inducing unhealthy consumer decisions, can be highly detrimental for obese people. It also underscores that obesity is not merely a medical condition but has a strong cognitive component, meaning that current dietary and medical treatment strategies may fall too short.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 10/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00278 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "variable score for the number of diagnostic criteria met ranging between 0 and 7, with higher scores indicating a larger number of DSMIV criteria met and a greater tendency to lose control over ones eating behaviour. The symptom count is often employed in community samples as 'food addiction' diagnosis has relatively low prevalence in this population (Gearhardt et al., 2009). For the current analysis, a continuous sum-score for the active items (n ¼ 3 items are 'primer' items and not intended to be included in the total score) was calculated instead, in order for the scale to be directly comparable to the other scales. "
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    ABSTRACT: Self-report measures of dietary restraint, disinhibited eating, hedonic response to food and loss of control over eating have been related to overeating, overweight and obesity. Impulsivity has emerged as a potential moderator in this relationship. However, the exact relationship between these measures and obesity is poorly defined. Self-report data was collected from a student and community based sample (N=496) of males (N=104) and females, with a wide age (18-73yrs; M=27.41) and BMI (15.3-43.6; M=24.2) range. Principle component analysis was used to explore the underlying structure of the sub-scales from a variety of eating behaviour questionnaires. Two emergent components relating to 'dietary restriction' and 'food reward responsivity' were supported in the analysis. Food reward responsivity component scores positively predicted BMI, but this relationship was moderated by impulsiveness. Dietary restriction component scores positively predicted BMI but were not moderated by impulsiveness. These findings suggest that frequently used eating behaviour measures can be reduced to two underlying components. Food reward responsivity positively predicts BMI, but only when impulsiveness is also high, supporting a dual-system approach where both bottom-up food reward drives and top-down impulse control are associated with overweight and obesity. Dietary restriction is an independent, positive predictor of BMI and is likely to be reflecting repeated unsuccessful attempts at weight control. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Appetite 07/2015; 95. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2015.07.006 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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