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.