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J Sports Sci. 2016;34(2):101-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1040824. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

Disordered eating in male athletes: a meta-analysis.

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a Sussex Coast College; University of Brighton , Brighton , UK.
b Bangor University , Bangor , UK.


We examined the propensity for male athletes to exhibit symptoms of disordered eating. Using meta-analytic techniques, we examined overall effect size, individual effect sizes for specific sport types, standard of athletic competition and diagnostic tools from 31 studies. When all studies were considered as a homogeneous group, male athletes did not have symptoms of disordered eating that were significantly different from non-athletic controls. However, significant moderator effects emerged for sport type and measurement: (a) wrestling reported a greater incidence of disordered eating; and (b) studies that reported data from the Eating Attitudes Test yielded a significantly greater incidence of disordered eating in male athletes compared to non-athletes. Although some sports seem to present a higher risk of disordered eating compared to others, the effects are weak and heterogeneous. We make suggestions for the development of the research area, which has been severely hampered by the diagnostic tools that have been available for the study of men.


disordered eating; eating disorder; men

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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