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As of 11.x.08 I have test version of the BSQ-34 in Englsih that can be completed online. The results will be purged at intervals, this is just test of concept. If it works and people are interested, I'll arrange things so it is easy for people to replicate that at LimeService.com

Content

History

Page started by Chris Evans in 2003, last updated 2.iv.11

Future plans

In the future I hope to have the English in PDF format and both Malay and Spanish in ODF, PDF, HTML and Word formats and for all the versions.

The BSQ is a self-report measure of the body shape preoccupations typical of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. It was first reported in: Cooper, P.J., M.J. Taylor, Z. Cooper & C.G. Fairburn (1986). The development and validation of the Body Shape Questionnaire. International Journal of Eating Disorders 6: 485-494.
The full detail is in Melanie's thesis: "The Nature and Significance of Body Image Disturbance". Melanie J Taylor. Wolfson College Cambridge 1987. It should be in the University Library and in the Library for Experimental Psychology. We are not aware of any electronic or online version of the thesis so if you find one, do let me know and I will inform Melanie.
The copyright rests legally with at least one of those four people and I have been able to contact all of them (M.J. Taylor is now M.J. Bash) and they are all happy for people to copy and the use full or shortened BSQs provided that the text is not changed in any further way.

Creating other forms

Please note, these short forms, the two 16 item versions and the four 8 item versions are the only shortened forms that are approved for use by the BSQ's copyright holders: they do not permit they do not permit creation of other short forms and regard doing so as copyright violation and bad science. This is because they believe, rightly clearly, that creation of other short forms allows more and more non-comparable results to come into the literature. We also believe that the provision of the full, the two 16 item and the four 8 item forms leaves little or no real need for other short forms to be created.

Approved shortened forms of the BSQ

The approved short forms came into existence when I did some work on the psychometric properties of the full BSQ based on data largely from women with bulimia that Bridget Dolan had collected. I suggested that four near parallel eight item short forms and two near parallel 16 item forms could be extracted from it with very little loss of internal reliability. That work was published in: Evans, C. & Dolan, B. (1993). Body Shape Questionnaire: derivation of shortened "alternate forms". International Journal of Eating Disorders 13(3): 315-321.

Using the BSQ with men

The BSQ was designed for use with women but Melanie Bash (nee Taylor, lead developer of the BSQ) has recently confirmed approved changes to three items allowing the BSQ to be used with men given the increasing prevalence of, and recognition of, eating disorders and body shape concerns, in men. The changes are:

Item 9 now reads - "Has being with thin men made you feel self-conscious about your shape?"

Item 12 now reads - "Have you noticed the shape of other men and felt that your shape compared unfavourably?"

Item 25 now reads - "Have you felt that it is not fair that other men are thinner than you?"

This form of the BSQ, and the derivative shortened forms for men, will be made available here when I have time to make the changes. Results from men should be explored psychometrically and scores not just compared directly to referential scores from women as the psychology of body shape concerns may differ between men and women even in men with clear anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Scoring

People often ask about the scoring. Each item is scored 1 to 6 with "Never" = 1 and "Always" = 6 and the overall score is the total across the 34 items, i.e. a theoretical score range from 34 to 204. (I prefer tools which score items from 0 to x rather than 1 to x and where the overall score is the mean, but I didn't create the BSQ so wouldn't change what the authors have chosen.)

I think we had essentially no omitted items in our data from motivated people seeking treatment. However that may not always be the case and I tend to use a "10% prorating" approach to all measures where someone has missed out an item. That's to say that for the BSQ16 I would prorate (multiply by 16/15 the total across the 15 they did answer) but I wouldn't do that if someone missed out more than one item as that would take me over the 10% criterion. That's a general rule and I'm certainly not the only one to use it and I do make sure I declare it in the methods section of a paper when I do use it. It's not "official" and I don't think anything was said in our paper or the original papers on the BSQ.

People also ask about cutting points between "normal" and "abnormal". As far as I know, there are none. Melanie (Bash nee Taylor) had these in her thesis but not the published paper about the BSQ:

less than 80 no concern with shape
80 to 110 mild concern with shape
111 to 140 moderate concern with shape
over 140 marked concern with shape

It is not perfect, but for UK English samples it is currently reasonable to convert these conversion guides for use with the 16 item and 8 item versions by multiplying by 16/34 and by 8/34 (until 5.viii.14 there was a typo in here saying "7/34" but the tables below gave the correct cutting points for 8/34) respectively as shown below. So that gives me this for the 16 item versions:

less than 38 no concern with shape
38 to 51 mild concern with shape
52 to 66 moderate concern with shape
over 66 marked concern with shape

and for the 8 item versions:

less than 19 no concern with shape
19 to 25 mild concern with shape
26 to 33 moderate concern with shape
over 33 marked concern with shape

Missing items

I think we had essentially no omitted items in our data from motivated people seeking treatment. However that may not always be the case and I tend to use a "10% prorating" approach to all measures where someone has missed out an item. That's to say that for the BSQ16 I would prorate (multiply by 16/15 the total across the 15 they did answer) but I wouldn't do that if someone missed out more than one item as that would take me over the 10% criterion. That's a general rule and I'm certainly not the only one to use it and I do make sure I declare it in the methods section of a paper when I do use it. It's not "official" and I don't think anything was said in our paper or the original papers on the BSQ.

Cutting points

People also ask about cutting points between "normal" and "abnormal". As far as I know, there are none. Given the complex cultural and other determinants of general body image concerns and of frank clinical eating disorders, I believe that any cutting points should be checked very carefully and not assumed to generalise across cultures.

Melanie (Bash, née Taylor) has the following in her thesis but not in the original paper about the BSQ:

Score range Name
< 80 no concern with shape
80 to 110 mild concern with shape
111 to 140 moderate concern with shape
> 140 marked concern with shape

Psychometrics

I haven't worked in body image or eating disorders for over a decade now but I do continue to work on the psychometrics and other instruments (mostly CORE-OM and shortened forms and PSYCHLOPS and have been suprised not to see work on the psychometrics of the BSQ being published. If you're interested in doing a good analysis of moderately large dataset of BSQ34 data to recheck the shortening specification or with any other interest and you need psychometric help and would trade for authorship, do Email me!