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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Three factor eating questionnaire-R18 as a measure of cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating in a sample of young Finnish females

Susanna Anglé1*, Janne Engblom2, Tiina Eriksson1, Susanna Kautiainen1, Marja-Terttu Saha3, Pirjo Lindfors1, Matti Lehtinen1 and Arja Rimpelä1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

2 Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland

3 Tampere University Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009, 6:41  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-41

Published: 17 July 2009

Abstract

Background

The aim of the study was to examine the construct validity of the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire -R18 (TFEQ-R18), a measure of eating behaviour, and to evaluate cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating in a sample of adolescent and young adult females of different weights.

Methods

Subjects were 2 997 females, aged 17 to 20 years, who participated in a phase III human papillomavirus vaccination trial in Finland in 2004 – 2009.

Self-administered questionnaires and weight and height measurements were used. The factor structure of the TFEQ-R18 was verified by factor analysis. Connections between measured eating behaviour and Body Mass Index (BMI) were tested using analysis of variance.

Results

The original factor structure of the TFEQ-R18 was replicated: six of the eighteen items measured cognitive restraint, nine measured uncontrolled eating, and three measured emotional eating. On average, higher BMI was associated with higher levels of cognitive restraint (p < 0.001) and emotional eating (p < 0.001), but not with uncontrolled eating.

Conclusion

Structural validity of the TFEQ-R18 was good in this sample of young Finnish females with a varying range of body weights. Use of the instrument as a measure of eating behaviour was thus corroborated. Connections of restrained and emotional eating with BMI were in accordance with previous findings from young females.