The prevalence of disordered eating in elite male and female soccer players

Will Abbott, Adam Brett, Tom Brownlee, Kelly Hammond, Liam Harper, Robert Naughton, Liam Anderson, Edward Munson, Jack Sharkey, Rebecca Randell, Tom Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Early online date27 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2020

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