Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS)

Author of Tool: 

Ashley N. Gearhardt, William R. Corbin, Kelly D. Brownell

Key references: 

Gearhardt, A.N., Corbin, W.R., & Brownell, K.D. (2009). Preliminary validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Appetite, 52, 430-436.

Gearhardt, A. N., White, M. A., Masheb, R. M., Morgan, P. T., Crosby, R. D., & Grilo, C. M. (2012). An examination of the food addiction construct in obese patients with binge eating disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 45, 657-663.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The Yale Food Addiction Scale is a measure that has been developed to identify those who are most likely to be exhibiting markers of substance dependence with the consumption of high fat/high sugar foods. This 25-item self-report measure includes mixed response categories (dichotomous and Likert-type format). A food addiction symptom (e.g., tolerance, withdrawal, loss of control) count can be obtained which is similar to the criteria for substance dependence of the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Additionally, two items assess clinically significant impairment or distress from eating. Food addiction can be “diagnosed” when three symptoms and clinically significant impairment or distress are present.


Despite the widespread use of the term “food addiction”, often used colloquially, its presence and operationalization in the scientific literature has been and still is a subject of debate. Gearhardt, Corbin, and Brownell developed the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) to determine whether the diagnostic criteria for substance dependence were present in eating problems. The scale questions fall under specific criteria that resemble the symptoms for substance dependence as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-R and operationalized in the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders.


Psychometric evaluation of the YFAS is presented in Gearhardt et al. (2009). A clinical validation of the instrument has also been conducted (Gearhardt et al., 2012).


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