Purpose To examine the prevalence of disordered eating (DE) in elite male and female soccer players and the influence of perfectionism.Methods Using a cross-sectional design, elite male (n = 137) and female (n = 70) soccer players and non-athlete controls (n = 179) completed the clinical perfectionism questionnaire (CPQ-12) and the eating attitudes test (EAT-26) to assess perfectionism and DE risk, respectively. Results Male soccer players had higher EAT-26 scores than controls (10.4 ± 9.9 vs. 6.8 ± 6.7; P=0.001) but there were no differences in the prevalence of clinical levels of DE (EAT-26 score ≥20) (15 vs. 5%, respectively; X2 = 0.079) The proportion of females with DE risk was higher in controls (EAT-26: 13.9 ± 11.6 (25% of population)) than female players (EAT-26: 10.0 ± 9.0% (11% of population)) (X2 = 0.001). With linear regression, perfectionism explained 20% of the variation in DE risk in males (P=0.001); in females, athletic status (player vs. control) and perfectionism were significant predictors of DE risk, explaining 21% of the variation (P=0.001). Male reserve team players had higher EAT-26 (+3.5) and perfectionism (+2.7) scores than first-team players (P<0.05). There were no differences in the prevalence of DE risk between the male and female soccer players (X2 = 0.595). Conclusions. The prevalence of DE risk was not different in elite male and female soccer players; in fact, the prevalence was greatest in non-athlete female controls. Perfectionism is a significant predictor of DE risk in males and females.
Abbott, W., Brett, A., Brownlee, T., Hammond, K., Harper, L., Naughton, R., Anderson, L., Munson, E., Sharkey, J., Randell, R., & Clifford, T. (2020). The prevalence of disordered eating in elite male and female soccer players. Eating and Weight Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-020-00872-0