What is the Eating Disorder Inventory?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2020
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The Eating Disorder Inventory is a self-report test given by doctors that helps determine if a patient has an eating disorder. The original version contains 64 questions that focus on eight different categories. It is not meant to diagnose any conditions, but it is used as a screening device. Since its development by David M. Garner in 1984, it has also been used to help doctors understand the psychology behind disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Of the eight categories of questions, three of them deal with the behavior and attitude regarding weight, eating, and body shape. These include body dissatisfaction, bulimia, and drive for thinness. Once a patient answers these questions, the Eating Disorder Inventory can shed some light on her ideas surrounding her body.

The other five scales inquire into the psychological factors of those with eating disorder symptoms. These include perfectionism, interpersonal distrust, ineffectiveness, maturity fears, and awareness of internal stimuli. Responses to such questions can sometimes correctly predict whether a patient currently has or will develop eating disorder symptoms.

The second version of the Eating Disorder Inventory, or EDI 2, was created in 1991. It includes 91 total questions and three new categories. They are impulse control, social insecurity, and asceticism.


A third version, or EDI 3, has since been developed. The number of questions is the same as the EDI 2, but there are 12 scales, nine of which pose general psychological questions. There are also six composite scores to be included in this version. They include Eating Disorder Risk, Risk Ineffectiveness, Affective Problems, Overcontrol, Interpersonal Problems, and General Psychological Maladjustment.

Questions asked within each category include frequency of symptoms like excessive exercising, binge eating, purging, use of diet pills, and ingestion of laxatives. The Eating Disorder Inventory also takes into account the patient's body mass index to determine if she might be a candidate for eating disorder treatment. The test is in simple checklist form, which helps both those who fill it out and doctors who interpret results. This way, the answers can be displayed easily on graphs.

Though the Eating Disorder Inventory might not always be correct in identifying patients with issues like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, several studies have proved that this test is typically accurate. Results usually correlate with other measures, such as the Eating Aptitudes Test and the Restraint Scale. Though most studies using this test revolve around females, it is said to be accurate for males, as well.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

Suntan12 - I want to say that the inpatient treatment centers are the best in treating this disorder but they are very expensive.

I recently read a story in Newsweek about a New Jersey family whose teenage daughter was suffering from a severe case of anorexia. They said that the insurance only covered 25% of the costs.

The teen went to an inpatient center for four months at $30,000 a month. The state of New Jersey does not require insurance companies to cover eating disorders, but insurance companies must offer coverage for mental illnesses that have a biological component to them like manic depression for example.

The family did sue the insurance company and filed a class action lawsuit with almost 100 other families and did receive a settlement from the insurance company although the insurance company did offer some initial coverage.

Post 3

Cupcakes15 - I know treatment for eating disorders is really difficult because the level of anxiety that these patients have is huge and about 25 million people are afflicted with this disorder.

I think that the best treatment option has to be inpatient therapy. Patients with eating disorders have to deal with so many factors that the inpatient scenario seems like the only logical choice.

There is an inpatient treatment center called Rebecca’s House that offers psychotherapy in groups and in individual sessions.

It also provides family therapy and nutritional guidance via an in house dietician. There are also education and nutrition support groups, and body image treatment.

They also have treatments for anorexia and bulimia as well as exercise addiction. Rebecca’s House has a 12 step program for recovery and provides yoga and meditation for ongoing healing.

It seems like a pretty comprehensive program.

Post 2

Sneakers41 - I think that the eating disorders like anorexia nervosa are so sad because many of these young girls are beautiful and do have a lot to offer but their viewpoint of success is so narrow that they force themselves to live in a prison that is anorexia nervosa.

My daughter is average weight and has a healthy body image because I always let her know how beautiful she is. She is only in the fourth grade but has never uttered a word about being thinner or wanting to look different.

I also make sure that I don’t talk about myself in a negative way although I do have weight to lose. I just tell her that I

want to look like her which is why I have to lose weight and be healthier.

Anorexia really scares me and I feel for the parents and kids that are going through this. It is considered the mental illness that reports the highest amounts of deaths.

Post 1

I just wanted to add that the eating disorder anorexia nervosa is the leading cause of death among teen girls and young women ages 14 to 25. According to eating disorder statistics about 94% of people suffering from this disorder are teens and young women and 70% of girls from 5th grade on are influenced by the way women look in the magazines.

These images in these magazines are not real because many are airbrushed in order to look that good. In addition only a small portion of women less than 4% actually are naturally that thin but people still aspire to look that way even though it is unnatural for most.

This is really sad and we

need to limit the images that young children see and explain that these images are also touched up in order to enhance the photographs.

Since young women this age are looking for acceptance many feel that having what they deem is the perfect body will create a permanent sense of happiness which is really not true. Happiness comes from within and it is a state of mind that changes from time to time.

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