Background/aims: The Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) is a widely used tool to assess addictive-like eating behaviours. To date, no studies have determined whether these addictive-like eating behaviours are stable longitudinally, or are a transient phenomenon, in a non-clinical population. This study aimed to evaluate whether food addiction Diagnosis and Symptom scores, as assessed by the YFAS, are stable over 18-months in a non-clinical population.
Methods: Young adults (18-35 years) were recruited from the community to an online survey. The survey included demographics, anthropometrics, and YFAS. Participants who volunteered to be recontacted for future research were invited to complete the same survey 18-months later. The YFAS scoring outputs Diagnosis and Symptom scores were tested for agreement and reliability between the two time-points.
Results: 69 participants (94% female, 67% normal weight) completed both surveys. At baseline, thirteen participants met the YFAS predefined criteria for Diagnosis, while eleven participants met this criteria at 18-month follow-up. YFAS Diagnosis was found to have moderate agreement [Kappa=.50, 95%CI (.23, .77)] between time-points while Symptom scores had good agreement [Kappa=.70, 95%CI (.54, .83)]. Intraclass correlation coefficients were moderate over 18-months for both the Diagnosis [ICC=.71, 95%CI (.45, .88)] and Symptom scores [ICC=.72, 95%CI (.58, .82)].
Conclusions: YFAS assessed food addiction Diagnosis and Symptom scores were found to be relatively stable over 18-months in a non-clinical population of young adults. Future research is required to determine the stability of YFAS scores in the context of intervention programs.
Funding source: N/A