Construct validity of the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10)

Janina Wilmskoetter, Heather Bonilha, Ickpyo Hong, R. Jordan Hazelwood, Bonnie Martin-Harris, Craig Velozo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: We aimed to evaluate the construct validity of the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10) by determining its dimensionality, rating scale integrity, item-person match, precision and relationship with the degree of airway invasion and functional oral intake. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients’ EAT-10 scores. We used the Rasch rating scale model. We investigated correlations between the EAT-10 and scores on the Penetration-Aspiration Scale (PAS) and Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS). Results: The median score of the EAT-10 from 127 patients was 16 of 40 (range 0–40). Confirmatory factor analysis supported unidimensionality. The 5-point rating scale categories met published criteria. Two items misfit the Rasch model and two other items displayed differential item functioning. Rasch person reliability was 0.79. Our patient cohort was divided into three person-strata. Correlations between the EAT-10 and the PAS and FOIS were weak to moderate in strength (respectively: r = 0.26, p = 0.0036; r = −0.27, p = 0.0027). Conclusions: Our analyses identified deficits in the construct validity of the EAT-10 suggestive of a need to improve the EAT-10 to support its frequent use in clinical practice and research.Implications for Rehabilitation Swallowing disorders are associated with severe complications, such as pneumonia and malnutrition, and impose both social and psychological burdens on patients. The Eating Assessment Tool is a self-report instrument developed to estimate initial dysphagia severity and monitor change in patient-reported dysphagia symptoms as a response to treatment. This study shows that the Eating Assessment Tool has deficits in its construct validity and a need to improve the instrument to support its frequent use in clinical practice and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 27 2019


  • Rasch model
  • deglutition disorder
  • outcome assessment (health care)
  • reliability
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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