Children’s Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT)

The Children’s Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT) is a 26 item questionnaire used to assess eating attitudes and disordered eating behaviours in children. It is a modified version of the Eating Attitudes Test (Garner & Garfinkle, 1979). It is administered by orally reading items to the child and is intended to be administered to children aged 8 – 15.

The ChEAT can be utilised to screen for children at risk of developing an eating disorder and can be used as part of a more comprehensive diagnostic assessment.

The ChEAT was developed by Maloney and colleagues (1988, 1989) in a sample of 318 children in the community. Various studies have demonstrated adequate reliability and validity of the ChEAT (Maloney et al., 1988; Maloney et al., 1989; Smolak & Levine, 1994).

Smolak and Levine (1994) administered the ChEAT to 308 middle school girls and found that the scale yielded four factors; dieting, restricting and purging, food preoccupation and oral control.

Items are summed to obtain a total score. A cut-off score of 20 more indicates the presence of disturbed eating patterns and highlights the need for further assessment (Garner et l., 1982). A total score of 20 corresponds to an average score of 0.77.

Average scores between 0 and 3 are computed by dividing the raw score by the number of questions, and are presented for each of the four subscales.

Higher scores indicate increased symptom severity. Subscales are derived by summing the following items:

Dieting: 1, 2, 6, 10,11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24
Restricting and Purging: 2, 7, 9,10, 17, 22, 23, 24, 26
Food Preoccupation: 3, 4, 18, 20, 21
Oral Control: 8, 13, 15, 20

Maloney, M. J., McGUIRE, J. B., & Daniels, S. R. (1988). Reliability testing of a children’s version of the Eating Attitude Test. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 27(5), 541-543.

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