Evaluating the Psychometric Properties of the Fear of Food Measure in Adolescents Across Three Independent Samples

Irina A. Vanzhula, Samantha P. Spoor, Sarah E. Ernst, Claire E. Cusack, Nicholas R. Farrell, Mia Nuñez, Jamal H. Essayli, Cheri A. Levinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Fear of Food Measure (FOFM) was developed to assess eating-related anxiety and evaluate outcomes of food exposure treatment. The FOFM scores in adult community and clinical samples have demonstrated good factor structure, reliability, and validity, but the FOFM has yet to be evaluated in adolescents, despite eating disorders (EDs) being extremely prevalent during adolescence. The current research evaluated the psychometric properties of the FOFM in three independent child and adolescent samples ages 11–18: patients at two separate intensive treatment programs for EDs (N = 688, N = 151) and students in an all-girl high school (N = 310). The revised adolescent version of FOFM (FOFM-A) consists of 10 items and three subscales: Anxiety About Eating, Food Anxiety Rules, and Social Eating Anxiety. We also found support for the use of a global FOFM-A score in an adolescent population. The FOFM-A scores evidenced good internal consistency as well as convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity across all samples. FOFM-A subscales strongly correlated with other measures of ED symptoms and moderately to strongly correlated with measures of anxiety and depression. Adolescents diagnosed with EDs scored significantly higher on all subscales of FOFM-A compared to a community high school sample without ED diagnoses. We identified that a total FOFM-A cutoff score of 1.93 best differentiates between those with and without ED diagnoses. The FOFM-A may be useful in the assessment and treatment of eating-related anxiety and avoidance in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Assessment
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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