Development of the Yale Food Addiction Scale Version 2.0. (2016)

2016 Feb;30(1):113-21. doi: 10.1037/adb0000136.

Gearhardt AN1, Corbin WR2, Brownell KD3.


Parallels in biological, psychological, and behavioral systems have led to the hypothesis that an addictive process may contribute to problematic eating. The Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) was developed to provide a validated measure of addictive-like eating behavior based upon the diagnostic criteria for substance dependence. Recently, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5) was released, which included significant changes to the substance-related and addictive disorders (SRAD) section. In the current study, the YFAS 2.0 was developed to maintain consistency with the current diagnostic understanding of addiction and to improve the psychometric properties of the original YFAS. In a sample of 550 participants, 14.6% met criteria for food addiction. The YFAS 2.0 demonstrated good internal consistency, as well as convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity. Elevated scores on the YFAS 2.0 were associated with higher rates of obesity and more severe pathological eating (e.g., binge eating). The YFAS 2.0 also appeared to capture a related, but unique construct relative to traditional eating disorders. In a separate sample of 209 participants, the YFAS and YFAS 2.0 were directly compared. Both versions of the YFAS were similarly associated with elevated body mass index, binge eating, and weight cycling. However, exceeding the food addiction threshold was more strongly associated with obesity for the YFAS 2.0 than the original YFAS. Thus, the YFAS 2.0 appears to by a psychometrically sound measure that reflects the current diagnostic understanding of addiction to further investigate the potential role of an addictive process in problematic eating behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record