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

PREVALENCE OF EATING DISORDERS

Data Analysis
The athletes initially were classified into their
eating groups on the basis of their QEDD re-
sponses. Once classified, the athletes were com-
pared on several demographic variables, specif-
ically age, race/ethnicity, year in school, and
sport team, and on their levels of bulimic symp-
tomatology based on their BULIT-R scores.
For the continuous variables (i.e., BULIT-R
and age), we made comparisons using an anal-
ysis of variance. For the categorical variables,
we used chi-square tests. Where appropriate,
effect sizes (i.e., partial 4q2 and Cohen's d) are
reported. The power for the statistical tests ex-
ceeded .90. For the responses to the seven items
from the BULIT-R, we calculated simple fre-
quency counts.
Results
Based on their QEDD responses (Mintz et al.,
1997), the athletes were classified as symptom-
atic (n = 39; 19.2%) and asymptomatic (n
164; 80.8%); no athletes were classified as hav-
ing a clinical eating disorder. To further estab-
lish the validity of the QEDD categories for
male athletes, we compared the groups on their
BULIT-R scores and were found to differ sig-
nificantly, F(1, 201) = 21.01,p < .0001, partial
12 = .10. As expected, the symptomatic ath-
letes (M = 57.25, SD = 16.21; Cohen's d
.78) reported higher scores in comparison with
those who were asymptomatic (M = 45.05,
SD = 14.64). Disordered eating group status
(symptomatic vs. asymptomatic) was then
tested with the demographic variables and
found to be unrelated to race/ethnicity (minority
vs. nonminority), X2(1, N = 203) = 1.45, p -
.23, year in school, X2(4, N = 203) = 6.72, p
.15, and age, F(1, 201) = 0.26, p = .61, partial
2 - .001 (see Table 1).
To examine the relation between sport team
participation and disordered eating status, we
classified the teams into one of six groups
(Hausenblas & Carron, 2002): endurance
(cross-country, track, swimming; n = 39;
asymptomatic = 34 and symptomatic = 5);
aesthetic (cheerleading, diving; n = 7; asymp-
tomatic = 5 and symptomatic = 2); weight
dependent (wrestling; n = 2; asymptomatic = 1
and symptomatic = 1); ball game (basketball,
baseball, soccer, volleyball, hockey, lacrosse;

n = 45; asymptomatic = 36 and symptom-
atic = 9); power sports (football, downhill ski-
ing; n = 104; asymptomatic = 83 and symp-
tomatic = 21); and technical (fencing, golf; n
6; asymptomatic = 5 and symptomatic = 1).
Because of the small numbers associated with
the aesthetic, weight-dependent, and technical
groups, it was inappropriate to include them in
the analysis. Using the remaining three groups,
which had sufficient numbers, there was no
significant relation between sport team classifi-
cation and disordered eating status, X2(2, N
188)= 1.30, p =.52.
Based on the athletes' responses to the seven
specific BULIT-R items, 34 (16.7%) reported
binge eating (i.e., eat uncontrollably to the point
of stuffing yourself) at least once a week; 35
(17.2%) indicated that their binge eating had
lasted for 3 months or longer. With respect to
the specific pathogenic weight control behav-
iors, (a) 75 (37.0%) reported exercising at
least 2 hr per day to burn calories, (b) 29
(14.2%) indicated fasting or going on strict
diets at least 2 or more times in the past year,
(c) 13 (6.5%) vomited intentionally at least
2-3 times/month, and (d) 9 (4.5%) and 16
(7.9%), respectively, reported using diuretics
and laxatives at least once a week to control
weight (see Table 2).
In summary, none of the athletes were clas-
sified with a clinical eating disorder on the basis
of their QEDD responses, although almost 20%
reported a sufficient number and level of symp-
toms to be considered symptomatic. Just over
80% of the athletes had no significant eating
disorder concerns and were classified as aymp-
tomatic. With respect to demographic variables,
neither year in school, race/ethnicity, sport type,
nor age was related to whether or not the ath-
letes were symptomatic or asymptomatic. In
terms of the athletes' body mass, fewer than 2%
were classified as underweight and 66% as
overweight or obese according to CDC guide-
lines. Despite the high number of athletes who
were overweight or obese, just over 60% ex-
pressed being satisfied with their current body
weight. Although the total frequency of patho-
genic behaviors was low, the athletes indicated
that exercise and fasting or dieting were the
primary and secondary means for controlling
their weight; fewer than 10% reported using
vomiting, laxatives, or diuretics.

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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. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31092/. Accessed August 30, 2014.