A large part of my research work concerns the creation and validation of psychometric scales to measure various clinically-relevant phenomena such as eating behaviours, coping styles, and patterns of thinking. Below are brief summaries of measures my colleagues and I have developed.
Mindful Eating Scale
To date we don’t have much evidence that what we call mindfulness generalises across domains of life. For example, someone might tend to be mindful of physical pain because they’ve received some specific training, but not bring this mindfulness to their eating behaviours. The Mindful Eating Scale measures the usual characteristics we associate with mindfulness, such as acceptance and awareness, but specifically in relation to eating and food. The mindful eating scale was first published in the journal Mindfulness, as a 29-item scale. We presented some work at the BPS Division of Health Psychology Conference confirming the factor structure and creating a shorter version of the scale.
A clinical research group from Brasil has translated the MES into Portuguese and is currently validating that translation.
The Food Craving Inventory
Most of us have experienced a food craving — a very strong desire to eat a certain food that seems like it just won’t go away. Researchers and clinicians are often interested in measuring how often someone experiences food cravings and how strong the cravings are. Some scales measure this in relation to a single food, like chocolate. (In the UK, chocolate is the most often craved food.) But sometimes we want to collect information on the range of cravings someone has too. Marney White and Carlos Grilo created the Food Craving Inventory (FCI) which achieves many of these aims in 2005. However, since a range of foods are involved, it is of course important that those foods are culturally appropriate. White and Grilo include lots of foods commonly consumed in the USA but which are not meaningful in the UK. For example, ‘biscuit’ has a very different meaning. Dr Wendy Nicholls and I developed a UK version of the FCI by updating the food list, adding a response scale, and conducting a separate exploratory factor analysis.
Bangor Life Events Schedule for Intellectual Disabilities
The BLESID is a semi-structured schedule which can be used to assess the pertinent life events experienced by someone with an intellectual disability. There are two versions, one for use with a carer or friend who knows the person well, and another for direct self-report. More information.