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Gender-based differential item functioning in measures of eating pathology.

Authors
  • Schaefer, Lauren M1
  • Anderson, Lisa M2
  • Simone, Melissa2
  • O'Connor, Shannon M3
  • Zickgraf, Hana3
  • Anderson, Drew A4
  • Rodgers, Rachel F5, 6
  • Thompson, J Kevin7
  • 1 Sanford Research, Center for Biobehavioral Research, Fargo, North Dakota.
  • 2 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • 3 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
  • 4 Department of Psychology, University at Albany-State University of New York, Albany, New York.
  • 5 Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 6 Department of Psychiatric Emergency & Acute Care, Lapeyronie Hospital, CHRU Montpellier, France. , (France)
  • 7 Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
52
Issue
9
Pages
1047–1051
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/eat.23126
PMID: 31233228
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Eating disorder (ED) symptoms are common and impairing in males, despite their perception as "female" disorders. As existing self-report symptom measures were developed and primarily validated in women, there is a need to establish the utility of these measures in men. The present study used differential item functioning (DIF) analyses to explore whether item endorsement differed by gender for three commonly used ED symptom measures. Participants were undergraduate men (n = 1,083) and women (n = 2,424) from three universities in the United States. Global scores on the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26), Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDEQ), and Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale for DSM-IV (EDDS) were examined. Tests of DIF were conducted by regressing each item against its composite scale score, and then comparing fit and variance explained (R2 ) to a model with the interaction of item*gender. The clinical significance threshold for DIF is ΔR2 ≥ 0.13. There was no evidence of clinically significant DIF within the EAT-26, EDEQ, or EDDS. Findings suggest that the examined measures perform similarly for undergraduate men and women, supporting their use in nonclinical male samples. However, development and testing of items reflecting ED symptoms that more commonly occur in males (e.g., muscularity-oriented behaviors) is encouraged. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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