Skip to main content Accessibility help

Screening for abnormal eating attitudes and psychiatric morbidity in an unselected population of 15-year-old schoolgirls

  • A. H. Mann (a1), A. Wakeling (a1), K. Wood (a1), E. Monck (a1), R. Dobbs (a1) and G. Szmukler (a1)...


The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) have been validated in an unselected population of 15-year-old South London schoolgirls. Scores on the questionnaires were compared with the results of standard interview. The EAT was found to be an efficient screening instrument for abnormal eating attitudes and behaviour, whereas the GHQ was less satisfactory in its ability to screen for psychiatric morbidity in this age group than in adults. At the optimal cutting points, 6·9% of this population gave a positive response to the EAT and 19·3% gave a positive response to the GHQ. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between the two sets of scores


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr A. H. Mann, Academic Department of Psychiatry, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG.


Hide All
Benjamin, S., Decalmer, P. & Haran, D. (1982). Community screening for mental illness: a validity study of the General Health Questionnaire. British Journal of Psychiatry 140, 174180.
Button, E. J. & Whitehouse, A. (1981). Subclinical anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine 11, 509516.
Crisp, A. H., Palmer, R. L. & Kalucy, R. S. (1976). How common is anorexia nervosa? A prevalence study. British Journal of Psychiatry 128, 549554.
Dally, P., Gomez, J. & Isaacs, A. J. (1979). Anorexia Nervosa. Heinemann: London.
Finlay-Jones, R. A. & Burvill, P. W. (1977). The prevalence of minor psychiatric disorders in the community. Psychological Medicine 7.474489.
Garner, D. M. & Garfinkel, P. E. (1979). The Eating Attitudes Test: an index of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine 9, 273280.
Garner, D. M. & Garfinkel, P. E. (1980). Socio-cultural factors in the development of anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine 10,647656.
Garner, D. M., Olmstead, M. P., Bohr, Y. & Garfinkel, P. E. (1982). The Eating Attitudes Test: psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine 12, 871878.
Graham, P. & Rutter, M. (1976). Adolescent disorders. In Child Psychiatry: Modern Approaches (ed. Rutter, M. and Hersov, L.), pp. 407427. Blackwell Scientific Publications: Oxford.
Goldberg, D. P. (1972). The Detection of Psychiatric Illness by Questionnaire. Oxford University Press: London.
Goldberg, D. P. (1978). The Manual of the General Health Questionnaire. MFER Publishing Company: Windsor.
Goldberg, D. P. & Hillier, V. F. (1979). A scaled version of the General Health Questionnaire. Psychological Medicine 9, 139145.
Goldberg, D. P., Cooper, B., Eastwood, M. R., Kedward, H. B. & Shepherd, M. (1970). A psychiatric interview suitable for use in community surveys. Journal of Social and Preventive Medicine 24,1826.
Henderson, S., Lewis, I. C., Howell, R. H. & Rayner, K. J.(1981). Mental health and use of tobacco, analgesics and vitamins in a secondary school population. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 163,186189.
Heunemann, R. L., Shapiro, L. R.. Hampton, M. C. & Mitchell, B. W. (1966). A longitudinal study of gross body composition and body conformation and their association with food and activity in a teenage population. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 18,325331.
Rutter, M., Graham, P., Chadwick, O. & Yule, W. (1976). Adolescent turmoil: fact or fiction? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 17, 3556.
Stafford, E. M., Jackson, P. R. & Banks, M. H. (1980).Employment, work involvement and mental health in less qualified young people. Journal of Occupational Psychology 53, 291304.
Tanner, J. M., Whitehouse, R. H. & Takaishi, M. (1966). Standards from birth to maturity for height, weight, height velocity and weight velocity. Archives of Diseases of Children 41,454613.
Tarnopolsky, A., Hand, D., Maclean, E. K., Roberts, H. & Wiggins, R. D. (1979). Validity and uses of a screening questionnaire (GHQ) in the community. British Journal of Psychiatry 134, 508515.
Williams, P., Hand, D. & Tarnopolsky, A. (1982). The problem of screening for uncommon disorders – a comment on the Eating Attitudes Test. Psychological Medicine 12, 431434.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed