ObjectiveMeal pattern is an important variable in both obesity treatment and treatment for eating disorders. Momentary assessment and eating diaries are highly valid measurement methods but often cumbersome and not always feasible to use in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to design and evaluate a self-report instrument for measuring meal patterns.MethodThe Pattern of eating item from the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) interview was adapted to self-report format to follow the same overall structure as the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire. The new instrument was named the Meal Patterns Questionnaire (MPQ) and was compared with the EDE in a student sample (n = 105) and an obese sample (n = 111).ResultsThe individual items of the MPQ and the EDE showed moderate to high correlations (rho = .63–89) in the two samples. Significant differences between the MPQ and EDE were only found for two items in the obese sample. The total scores correlated to a high degree (rho = .87/.74) in both samples and no significant differences were found in this variable.DiscussionThe MPQ can provide an overall picture of a person's eating patterns and is a valid way to collect data regarding meal patterns. The MPQ may be a useable tool in clinical practice and research studies when more extensive instruments cannot be used. Future studies should evaluate the MPQ in diverse cultural populations and with more ecological assessment methods.
SOCIAL SCIENCES -- Psychology -- Applied Psychology (hsv//eng)