Identifying measures that reliably and validly assess clinical impairment has important implications for eating disorder (ED) diagnosis and treatment. The current study examined the psychometric properties of the Clinical Impairment Assessment (CIA) in women at high risk for ED onset. Participants were 543 women (20.6 ± 2.0 years) who were classified into one of three ED categories: clinical ED, high risk for ED onset, and low risk control. Among high risk women, the CIA demonstrated high internal consistency (α = 0.93) and good convergent validity with disordered eating attitudes (rs = 0.27-0.68, ps < 0.001). Examination of the CIA's discriminant validity revealed that CIA global scores were highest among women with a clinical ED (17.7 ± 10.7) followed by high risk women (10.6 ± 8.5) and low risk controls (3.0 ± 3.3), respectively (p < 0.001). High risk women reporting behavioral indices of ED psychopathology (objective and/or subjective binge episodes, purging behaviors, driven exercise, and ED treatment history) had higher CIA global scores than those without such indices (ps < 0.05), suggesting good criterion validity. These data establish the first norms for the CIA in a United States sample. The CIA is psychometrically sound among high risk women, and heightened levels of impairment among these individuals as compared to low risk women verify the relevance of early intervention efforts.
- Clinical impairment
- Eating disorders