Date of Award
M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services
Numerous studies have been conducted on eating disorders (ED) in collegiate athletes. Many studies conclude that collegiate athletes are more at risk of developing an ED compared to non-athletes, while some report the opposite. Purpose. To determine if collegiate athletes are more likely to exhibit ED characteristics compared to those who only participated in high school sports. Method. Each participant completed The Eating Attitude Test-26 (EAT), The Eating Disorder Inventory subscales Body Dissatisfaction (EDIBD), Drive for Thinness (EDIDFT), and Bulimia (EDIBUL) and The Body Shape Questionnaire-34 (BSQ). Group differences were examined for males (N=101), females (N=189), collegiate athletes (N=107), non-athletes who played sports in high school (high school athletes) (N=152), and those who did not play sports in high school (non-athletes) (N=31). Results. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that when combining both genders combined, collegiate athletes scored significantly lower than high school athletes and non-athletes regarding EAT, EDIDFT, EDIBD, and BSQ. No significant difference was found between high school athletes and non-athletes. When separating male and female samples, the ANOVA showed that female collegiate athletes (N=64) scored significantly lower than female high school athletes regarding EAT, while female high school athletes (N=99) and female non-athletes (N=26) did not differ significantly. Female collegiate athletes also scored significantly lower in EDIBD and BSQ than both female high school athletes and female non-athletes. No significant difference was found between female high school athletes and female non-athletes in these measures. No significant difference was found between these groups regarding EDIDFT and EDIBUL. For the male only sample, the ANOVA found no significant differences between collegiate athletes (N=43), high school athletes (N=53), and non-athletes (N=5). Two-tailed independent-sample T tests for equality of means (equal variances not assumed) found that in comparison to males, females scored significantly higher on the EAT, EDIDFT, EDIBD, and BSQ. No significant differences were found regarding EDIBUL. Discussion. Compared to collegiate athletes, high school athletes and non-athletes scored significantly higher on the EAT, EDIDFT, EDIBD, and BSQ, indicating they are at a greater risk of an ED. No significant difference was found between high school athletes and non-athletes, indicating the need for more research. When males and females were analyzed separately based on athlete status, most measures found that female high school athletes and non-athletes were at a greater risk of an ED compared to collegiate athletes. No significant difference was found between the 3 groups regarding males indicating the need for more research concerning these groups. Consistent with most literature, females are more at risk for an ED compared to males. Overall, this study suggests female high school only athletes and non-athletes are more at risk of developing an ED compared to collegiate athletes.
Blair, Laura Leighton, "Comparison of Exercise and Eating in Collegiate Athletes Vs. Non-Athletes Active in High School Sports" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 54.