This study explores the prevalence of disordered eating attitudes in a sample of male first-year university students engaged in a physical education program and examines the relationships between emotional intelligence, coping, and emotional eating in relation to disordered-eating (DE) attitudes. A total of 140 students completed the following questionnaires: the Eating Attitudes Test, the Bar-On Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire, the Coping Inventory Stress Scale, and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire. The number of participants represented 80% of the male students registered in this discipline at the authors’ university. Twenty percent of students presented DE attitudes even though they were of normal weight. The Bar-On EQ-I results indicated that students with DE attitudes had lower levels of emotional intelligence (EI) scores than students without DE attitudes (control group). Moreover, they scored higher than the control group on coping styles such as avoidance-oriented coping, emotion-oriented coping, and emotional eating. The DE group presented a positive correlation between DE attitudes symptoms and both avoidance- and emotion-oriented coping but a negative correlation between DE attitudes and task-oriented coping. There was also a significant negative correlation between DE attitudes and EI score. Another result from this group indicated an association between EI score and emotional-eating score (p < .05, r = –.44) and also a positive correlation between emotion-oriented coping and emotional eating (p < .01, r = .47). The findings highlight future research potential on the role of emotions and EI in DE symptoms, which may be beneficial in the context of collaborative care management intervention.
Filaire is with CIAMS; Treuvelot, UFR STAPS; and Toumi, EA 4708, 13MTO, University of Orléans, Orléans, France.