Development and validation of the eating loss of control scale

Kerstin K. Blomquist, Christina A. Roberto, Rachel D. Barnes, Marney A. White, Robin M. Masheb, Carlos M. Grilo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Recurrent objective bulimic episodes (OBE) are a defining diagnostic characteristic of binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN). OBEs are characterized by experiencing loss of control (LOC) while eating an unusually large quantity of food. Despite nosological importance and complex heterogeneity across patients, measurement of LOC has been assessed dichotomously (present/absent). This study describes the development and initial validation of the Eating Loss of Control Scale (ELOCS), a self-report questionnaire that examines the complexity of the LOC construct. Participants were 168 obese treatment-seeking individuals with BED who completed the Eating Disorder Examination interview and self-report measures. Participants rated their LOC-related feelings or behaviors on continuous Likert-type scales and reported the number of LOC episodes in the past 28 days. Principal component analysis identified a single-factor, 18-item scale, which demonstrated good internal reliability (α = .90). Frequency of LOC episodes was significantly correlated with frequency of OBEs and subjective bulimic episodes. The ELOCS demonstrated good convergent validity and was significantly correlated with greater eating pathology, greater emotion dysregulation, greater depression, and lower self-control but not with body mass index. The findings suggest that the ELOCS is a valid self-report questionnaire that may provide important clinical information regarding experiences of LOC in obese persons with BED. Future research should examine the ELOCS in other eating disorders and nonclinical samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Eating disorder
  • Loss of control
  • Measurement
  • Scale development
  • Validation


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