Shedding light upon various tools to assess orthorexia nervosa: a critical literature review with a systematic search

Martina Valente*, Elena V. Syurina, Lorenzo Maria Donini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: The aim of this literature review was to identify the tools developed and used to assess orthorexia nervosa (ON). Methods: A systematic search was executed in PubMed, Biomed Central, and PsycINFO. The final list included 70 articles that were critically analyzed. Results: A total of six tools were reported to assess ON: the BOT, the ORTO-15, the EHQ, the DOS, the BOS, and the TOS. The tools were based upon different conceptualizations of ON and of its diagnostic criteria. Although they were different, all the conceptualizations derived from the initial definition of ON provided by Bratman in 1997. None of the methodologies adopted for tool construction considered end users or client perspectives and, when carried out, the validations of the tools were fragmented and often based on specific populations. Conclusion: This study may be a starting point for the construction of a new diagnostic tool for ON. Starting from the methodological weaknesses identified by this review, it was possible to derive some suggestions for future research: (a) developing a modern re-conceptualization of ON, comprehensive of end-user perspectives; (b) adopting qualitative data collection techniques to gain insights into how to diagnose ON; and (c) actively involving diverse stakeholders for constructing a new tool. Level of evidence: Level of Evidence: I, systematic review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-682
Number of pages12
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Assessment
  • Diagnosis
  • Eating behavior
  • Orthorexia nervosa
  • Psychometrics


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