It is commonly believed that gymnasts are at risk for eating disorders. However, research examining whether gymnasts are a high-risk population for eating pathologies is equivocal. The purpose of our study was to examine disordered eating among Division I female gymnasts using a longitudinal design with validated eating disorder measures. Participants (n = 72) completed the Drive for Thinness, Body Dissatisfaction and Perfectionism subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (Garner, 1991), and the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (Martin et al., 1997), twice during their competitive season (i.e., October and March). There were no significant time differences for the eating disorder subscales, indicating that gymnasts’ perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, and anorexic tendencies may be stable characteristics that do not change across a competitive season. Implications of these results and future research directions are discussed.
Jessica H. Doughty, University of Florida Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology College of Health and Human Performance P.O. Box 118207 Gainesville, FL 32611-8207 Phone: (352) 392-0580 ext. 1398 Fax: (352) 392-5262