Agreement between survey and interview measures of weight control practices in adolescents

Simone A. French, Carol B. Peterson, Mary Story, Nancy Anderson, Melissa Pederson Mussell, James E. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The present study examined agreement between survey and interview measures of weight control practices in a nonclinical sample of adolescents. Method: Surveys were administered in three school health classes. Clinical interviews were conducted in a student subsample (N = 43). Results: Survey-based prevalences for eating behaviors in the past month were: trying to lose weight, 44%; binge eating, 41%; vomiting, 4.7%; laxative use, 0%; and fasting, 14%. Interview-based prevalences were 30%, 11.6%, 0%, 0%, and 0%, respectively. Sensitivity was high (or all behaviors assessed. However, positive predictive values were low. Discussion: Surveys may be useful as preliminary screening tools for prevention programs, but may yield inflated estimates of unhealthy weight control practices in nonclinical adolescent populations. Research is needed to examine whether adolescents overreport weight control practices on surveys or whether they are less willing to disclose such practices in a private interview.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Binge eating
  • Dieting
  • Eating disorders
  • Purging

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