The authors assessed the prevalence of pathogenic eating and weight-control behaviors among female college athletes, using a psychometrically valid measure.
Participants were 204 college athletes (M age=20.16 years, SD=1.31 years) from 17 sports at 3 universities. On average, they participated in their sport for 10.88 years (SD=16.68 years) and on their college team for 2.10 years (SD=1.03 years).
Participants completed a demographic and weight background questionnaire, Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnoses, and the Bulimia Test-Revised.
The authors classified participants as eating disordered (n=4, 2.0%), symptomatic (n=52, 25.5%), and asymptomatic (n=148, 72.5%). Few participants engaged in binge eating; most used exercise, as opposed to vomiting, dieting, laxatives, or diuretics, to control their weight.
Female athletes suffer from eating disorders, and most experience symptom levels that are subclinical but problematic.