Prevalence of Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating Behaviors Among Male Collegiate Athletes


do not fit into existing diagnostic categories.
Thus, when men present with any one of these
or related problems, mental health practitio-
ners should be willing to inquire further into
their clients' eating and weight control behav-
iors to determine whether there are more se-
vere or extensive problems (Davey & Bishop,
Finally, and related to the second point, be-
cause of how masculinity currently is defined,
men may be more willing to report or admit to
certain behaviors (e.g., exercising excessively,
drinking alcohol), attitudes (e.g., not believing
their bodies are muscular enough), or feelings
(e.g., anger) than they would having an actual
eating disorder. Even though over the past 2
decades men's pursuit of eating disorder treat-
ment has increased (Braun et al., 1999), most
men do not seek assistance because of a variety
of real and perceived barriers, such as oversub-
scribing to masculine gender roles and the
stigma of having a "woman's illness." Thus,
when counseling men, mental health practitio-
ners may want to focus on these more accessible
problem areas first, and use them as the entry
point to more broadly discuss their clients' eat-
ing behaviors, conception of themselves as a
man, and the possibility that they are suffering
from an eating disorder (Soban, 2006).
Using a diverse sample, drawn from three
universities located across three regions of the
United States, and a psychometrically valid
questionnaire, we identified prevalence rates for
eating disorders and specific pathogenic weight
control behaviors among male collegiate ath-
letes. Although their overall level of clinical
eating pathology was very low, a substantial
number experience subclinical concern that
may be precursors to the later development of
an actually diagnosable disorder. In fact, a sub-
set of the athletes engaged in eating and weight
control behaviors that, in and of themselves,
represent severe health risks. Thus, male colle-
giate athletes need special attention from re-
searchers and practitioners to address the disor-
dered eating attitudes and behaviors that do
exist among this group of at-risk men. In par-
ticular, professionals need to reach out to this
group of men, both in terms of research and
intervention, because of their hesitancy to report
the eating and body-related problems they are

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Petrie, Trent A.; Greenleaf, Christy; Reel, Justine J. & Carter, Jennifer. Prevalence of Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating Behaviors Among Male Collegiate Athletes. [Washington, D.C.]. UNT Digital Library. Accessed October 5, 2015.