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Eat Behav. 2015 Aug;18:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.03.008. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

Comparison of disordered eating symptoms and emotion regulation difficulties between female college athletes and non-athletes.

Author information

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 301 Human Sciences, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA. Electronic address: gswoll2@gmail.com.
2
Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina Greensboro, 319 College Avenue, 318 Stone Building, Greensboro, NC 27412, USA. Electronic address: lhshrive@uncg.edu.
3
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 301 Human Sciences, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA. Electronic address: gail.gates@okstate.edu.

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to compare the prevalence of disordered eating between female college athletes and non-athletes and explore emotion regulation as a potential mediator of the link between participation in athletics and disordered eating symptoms. Data for this cross-sectional study came from 527 college students in a mid-western state of the USA in fall of 2013 (376 non-athletes and 151 athletes). Disordered eating symptoms and emotion regulation were assessed utilizing the Eating Attitudes Test and the Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale in a survey-based format. The prevalence of disordered eating was higher in non-athletes (16.5%, vs. 6.6%; X(2)=62.8; p<.05). Non-athletes reported more signs and symptoms of disordered eating than athletes (p<.01). A linear regression approach indicated a statistically significant indirect effect (0.63, CI95=0.18, 1.20) of athletic-status on disordered eating via emotion regulation; however, this effect did not reach practical significance. Our findings show that female athletes in our sample were somewhat protected from disordered eating compared to non-athletes, but the mechanism of this relationship is unclear. A further in-depth examination of other factors, such as self-esteem and body satisfaction, that may have contributed to this finding is warranted utilizing a large sample of female college students and athletes representing a variety of sports.

KEYWORDS:

College non-athletes; Disordered eating; Emotion regulation; Female college athletes

PMID:
25841217
DOI:
10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.03.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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