Disordered Eating Assessment for College Student-Athletes

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Sports have received widespread attention for the risk of disordered eating, but prevalence rates among athletes have varied from one to 62 percent across studies (Beals, 2004). One explanation for this discrepancy has been the tendency for previous studies to select “at-risk” sports for examination. The current study extends prior inquiry by expanding the sample to the entire student-athlete group at Ohio State University. Approximately 800 varsity student-athletes at this large Division I university completed the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis (Q-EDD; Mintz, O’Halloran, Mulholland, & Schneider, 1997) in 2001 and 2002, allowing gender and type of sport comparisons. The purposes of the study were to identify at-risk athletes as part of a screening process designed for eating disorder prevention, and to continue to refine the assessment of disordered eating in athletes. Not surprisingly, results showed that subclinical eating problems were more prevalent than clinical eating disorders in athletes, with 19 percent of female athletes and 12 percent of male athletes reporting eating disorder symptoms in year one, and 17 percent of female athletes and nine percent of male athletes in year two. Because the Q-EDD does not fully capture male body image problems, in 2002 questions were added to the Q-EDD that assessed preoccupation with muscularity, and preliminary Endings showed that one percent of male athletes fit a diagnosis of Muscle Dysmorphia. For both years, athletes from lean sports reported significantly more eating disorder symptoms than did athletes from nonlean sports. Specific policies employed by this university and prevention strategies will be discussed.

Jennifer E. Carter The OSU Sports Medicine Center 2050 Kenny Road Columbus, OH 43221 Email: carter.270@osu.edu Phone: (614) 293-2432 Fax: (614) 293-4399

Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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