Dr. Nicole Peak Published in Eating Behaviors Journal
Research conducted by Dr. Nicole Peak, a core faculty member in the School of Professional Psychology at University of the Rockies, was published in the scientific journal, Eating Behaviors.
Eating Behaviors is an international, peer-reviewed journal publishing human research on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of obesity, binge eating, and eating disorders in adults and children. Peak's research can be found in Volume 13, Issue 1, which was released in January.
With the assistance of colleagues at West Virginia University School of Medicine and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Peak studied the reliability and validity of two versions of the Mizes Anorectic Cognitions (MAC and MAC-R) questionnaire in a sample of racially diverse adolescents without eating disorders. The questionnaires are designed to assess specific mental processes relevant to anorexia and bulimia nervosa and have been used extensively with adult patients suffering from eating disorders. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the MAC and MAC-R would display similar psychometric properties in adolescents.
The onset of eating disordered behavior has been determined to occur during adolescence, says Peak. However, there are relatively few assessment devices that measure the cognitions or cognitive processes of eating disorder pathology of adolescents. Peak says this is critically important in the identification and treatment of such disorders. "The more tools that we can validate to measure the processes means that we can catch and treat an eating disorder earlier rather than when it manifests physically or has become chronic.
"We hoped that the results would help us to establish a 'norm' specific to adolescents so that we can better recognize elevated scores among this group."
The MAC and MAC-R scores were also examined to determine whether any differences or score modifications were required based upon sex, race, or weight classification.
Findings from the study suggest that the questionnaires are consistent, reliable, and strongly related to other well-established instruments used in examining eating disorder pathology in adolescence. In addition, there were no significant differences on scores across race and weight classification.
The research team concluded that separate means and standard deviations should be used when determining male and female scores in adolescents without eating disorders.
"It is just as important to know how adolescents without eating disorders tend to score on some of the common questionnaires used to assess eating disorder pathology as it is to know how adolescents with eating disorders score on the questionnaires. This information provides the clinician or school counselor with a reference or comparison group so that a MAC score holds some meaning instead of being a random score," says Peak.
Additional information may be found in the print edition of Eating Behaviors or online at www.journals.elsevier.com/eating-behaviors.
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