Mindfulness is theorized to affect the eating behavior and weight of pregnant women, yet no measure has been validated during pregnancy.
This study qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated the reliability and validity of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire (MEQ) in overweight and obese pregnant women. Participants completed focus groups and cognitive interviews. The MEQ was administered twice to measure test-retest reliability. The Eating Inventory (EI) and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) were administered to assess convergent validity, and the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) assessed discriminant validity.
Participants were 20 ± 8 weeks gestation (mean ± SD), 30 ± 2 years old, and 55% were obese. The MEQ total score had good test-retest reliability (r = .85). The total score internal consistency reliability was poor (Cronbach's α = .56). The external cues subscale (ECS) was not internally consistent (α = .31). Other subscales ranged from α = .59–.68. When the ECS was excluded, the MEQ total score internal consistency was acceptable (α = .62). Convergent validity was supported by the MEQ total score (with and without ECS) correlating significantly with the MAAS and the EI disinhibition and hunger subscales. Discriminant validity of the MEQ was supported by the MEQ and NEWS total scores and subscales not being significantly correlated. The quantitative results were supported by the qualitative context and content analysis.
With the exception of the ECS, the MEQ's reliability and validity was supported in pregnant women, and most of the subscales were more robust in pregnant women than in the original sample of healthy adults. The MEQ's use with overweight and obese pregnant women is supported.