What is the SCOFF Questionnaire?

Introduction

The SCOFF questionnaire utilises an acronym in a simple five question test devised for use by non-professionals to assess the possible presence of an eating disorder.

Scoff is also an alternative/slang word for food.

Background

It was devised by John F. Morgan, Fiona Reid, and J Hubert Lacey in 1999.

The original SCOFF questionnaire was devised for use in the United Kingdom, thus the original acronym needs to be adjusted for users in the United States and Canada.

The letters in the full acronym are taken from key words in the questions:

  • Do you make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
  • Do you worry that you have lost Control over how much you eat?
  • Have you recently lost more than One stone (14 lb/6.5 kg) in a 3-month period?
  • Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin?
  • Would you say that Food dominates your life?

Notes

  • The “S” stands for “Sick”:
    • In British English means specifically to “vomit”.
    • In American English and Canadian English it is synonymous with “ill”.
  • The “O” is used in the acronym to denote “one stone”.
    • A “stone” is an Imperial unit of weight which made up of 14 lbs (equivalent to 6.35 kg).

All participants (in Morgan and colleagues research) found the questions and the term “SCOFF” acceptable. Setting the threshold at two or more yes answers to all five questions provided 100% sensitivity for anorexia and bulimia, separately and combined (all patients: 95% confidence interval, 96.9%-100.0%; patients with bulimia: 92.6%-100.0%; and patients with anorexia: 94.7%-100.0%), with a specificity of 87.5% (79.2%-93.4%) for controls.

Scoring

One point is assigned for every “yes”; a score greater than two (≥2) indicates a possible case of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Reference

Morgan, J.F., Reid, F. & Lacy, J.H. (2000) The SCOFF Questionnaire. Western Journal of Medicine. 172(3), pp.164-165.

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