Profiling motives behind hedonic eating. Preliminary validation of the Palatable Eating Motives Scale

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to validate a new scale designed to measure individual motives for eating tasty foods and determine if any specific motive(s) are associated with obesity. The "Palatable Eating Motives Scale" (PEMS) is a self-report measure adapted from the Drinking Motives Questionnaire Revised (DMQ-R). N=150 racially-diverse college students (mean age: 24.4, BMI: 16-51kg/m2) were administered the PEMS along with the Binge-Eating Scale (BES) and the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) to test for convergent and incremental validity and the Sensitivity to Punishment and Reward Questionnaire (SPSRQ) for discriminant validity. The PEMS identified four motives for eating tasty food, the same ones found with the DMQ-R for alcohol intake: Social, Conformity, Enhancement, and Coping motives. The scales had good convergent validity with BES and YFAS scores but discriminated from the broader motivational constructs of inhibition and activation measured by the SPSRQ. Of the PEMS motives, Coping (eating tasty food to deal with problems and negative feelings) accounted for unique variance in BMI, and added to variance in BMI contributed by BES scores, showing incremental validity. YFAS scores did not contribute to BMI after controlling for binge-eating. Coping subscale scores were also significantly higher (p<0.001) among the severely obese (BMI>40). Motives behind palatable food intake are not homogenous and should be considered in personalized weight-loss strategies in future studies. In normal weight individuals, knowing one's dominant motive for eating tasty foods may help promote healthier food choices in times and places where they are most vulnerable to do otherwise. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Published In

  • Appetite  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Burgess EE; Turan B; Lokken KL; Morse A; Boggiano MM
  • Start Page

  • 66
  • End Page

  • 72
  • Volume

  • 72