gms | German Medical Science

4. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e. V. (DGESS)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e. V.

20.03. - 22.03.2014, Leipzig

A short version of the Food Cravings Questionnaire – Trait: The FCQ-T-reduced

Meeting Abstract

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e.V. (DGESS). 4. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Essstörungen. Leipzig, 20.-22.03.2014. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2014. Doc14dgess075

doi: 10.3205/14dgess075, urn:nbn:de:0183-14dgess0756

Published: March 17, 2014

© 2014 Meule et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Food cravings often precede and predict over- or binge eating. One of the most often used instruments for the assessment of food cravings is the Food Cravings Questionnaire (FCQ), which consists of a trait (FCQ-T; 39 items) and state (FCQ-S; 15 items) version. Scores on the FCQ-T have been found to be positively associated with eating pathology, BMI, low dieting success and increases in state food craving during cognitive tasks involving appealing food stimuli. The current studies evaluated the reliability and validity of a reduced version of the FCQ-T consisting of 15 items only (FCQ-T-r).

Material/Methods: Study 1 was a questionnaire study conducted online (N = 323; 83.9 % female; age M = 24.4 years ± 5.6; BMI M = 22.0 kg/m² ± 3.4). In study 2, female students (N = 70; age M = 22.0 years ± 3.3; BMI M = 21.5 kg/m² ± 2.8) performed a working memory task involving food and neutral pictures.

Results: Study 1 indicated a one-factorial structure and high internal consistency (α = .94) of the FCQ-T-r. Scores on the FCQ-T-r were positively correlated with BMI (r = .15, p < .01) and negatively correlated with dieting success (r = -.42, p < .001). In study 2, participants reported higher state food craving after the task compared to before (t(69) = 3.2, p < .01). This increase was positively correlated with the FCQ-T-r (r = .22, p = .07). Moreover, food deprivation (i.e. hours since the last meal) positively predicted food craving before the task (β = .25, p < .05) when controlling for FCQ-T-r scores (β = .18, ns) and the interaction of both variables (β = -.20, ns). Contrarily, FCQ-T-r scores positively predicted food craving after the task (β = .30, p < .05) when controlling for food deprivation (β = .20, ns) and the interaction term (β = -.13, ns). Thus, trait food craving was specifically associated with state food craving triggered by palatable food-cues, but not with state food craving related to plain hunger.

Conclusion: Results indicate high reliability of the FCQ-T-r. Replicating validation studies that used the long version, small-to-medium correlations with BMI and dieting success could be found. Finally, scores on the FCQ-T-r predicted cue-elicited food craving, providing further support of its validity. The FCQ-T-r constitutes a succinct, valid and reliable self-report measure to efficiently assess experiences of food craving as a stable trait.