Eating Disorder Indices and Athletes: An Integration

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Florida
  • 2 The University of Western Ontario
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Research shows inconclusive results pertaining to the comparison of eating disorder indices between athletes and nonathletes and among different subgroups of athletes. The purpose of this study was to meta-analytically review the literature on (a) bulimia nervosa indices, (b) anorexia nervosa indices, and (c) drive for thinness (a cardinal feature of both anorexia and bulimia) in male and female athletes. Results of 92 studies with 560 effect sizes (ES) revealed small ESs (range: −.01 to .30) in relation to group membership characteristics. Results for female athletes revealed small ESs for bulimia and anorexia indices, suggesting that female athletes self-reported more bulimic and anorexic symptomatology than control groups; nonsignificant group differences were evidenced for drive for thinness. Results for male athletes revealed small ESs on all three indices, suggesting that male athletes self-reported more eating disorder symptomatology than control groups. Moderator variables that might contribute to understanding the results are examined, and future research directions are presented.

Heather A. Hausenblas is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-8205. Albert V. Carron is with the School of Kinesiology at The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7.

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