Seventy-three college female and 84 high school female cheerleaders participated in the current study on eating disorders and pressures within cheerleading. The participants completed the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS), and CHEER, a measure developed by the authors to identify pressures within cheerleading. A one-way MANOVA indicated significant differences between high school and college cheerleaders on CHEER and SPAS. Correlational analyses revealed a strong relation between SPAS, body dissatisfaction scores, and eating behavior, suggesting that body image is an important predictor for eating disorders in cheerleaders. Moreover, although high school cheerleaders reported fewer pressures than their college counterparts, they exhibited greater body dissatisfaction and disordered eating patterns.
Justine J. Reel and Diane L. Gill are with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC 27412.