Publication date: Available online 19 January 2019
Source: Eating Behaviors
Author(s): Maija Taylor
Summarize and evaluate self-report measures of food craving, provide suggestions on future directions for the field of food craving measurement, and deliver guidance on how to select a food craving measure.
Online bibliographical databases (PsycINFO and PubMed) were searched for peer-reviewed literature on self-report measures of food craving.
There is a wide selection of food craving measures that researchers and clinicians can use to assess state, past, and trait food cravings. Most questionnaires were tested on homogenous samples and their psychometric properties in older, male, and socioeconomically, racially, and ethnically diverse samples is largely unknown. Few questionnaires were tested in samples with overweight/obesity or eating disorders. Relatively few questionnaires adequately evaluate contextual factors that can trigger craving. There appears to be limited data on the predictive validity of food craving measures in regards to response to eating disorder treatment. A decision tree was provided to help researchers and clinicians select a food craving measure that is best suited to a particular clinical or research purpose.
It is recommended that researchers adequately assess the contextual factors that may trigger craving and the multi-sensory nature of craving for food. It would be beneficial for researchers to evaluate the psychometrics of food craving measures in more diverse samples (in terms of sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, weight status, and eating disorder psychopathology). More longitudinal studies should be conducted to provide information on the predictive validity of food craving measures regarding response to eating disorder treatment. Furthermore, it is suggested that researchers assess which tactics people use to reduce the frequency and strength of food cravings and restrain their consumption of craved foods.