Eating disorders and substance use: a dancing vs a nondancing population

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Abstract

HOLDERNESS, C. C., J. BROOKS-GUNN, and M. P. WARREN. Eating disorders and substance use: a dancing vs a nondancing population. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 297–302, 1994. The association between eating disorders, substance use, and emotional distress is well recognized in the literature. To determine whether dancers who are known to be at risk for eating disorders were also at risk for other emotional disorders, the co-occurrence of eating disorders, substance use, and emotional distress among dancers (N = 50) and nondancers (N = 56) was examined. These young adult women were part of a longitudinal study of the complications of decreased bone density. Participants filled out questionnaires about eating behavior, substance use, and emotional functioning. A clinical interview determined the existence of eating disorders (DSM-III-R). Physiological data, including an assessment of current health, also were collected. There were no differences in disordered eating between the two subject groups. Associations existed within each group, however. Many associations including substance use and emotional distress were found among the nondancers, while no associations were found among the dancers. Thus, eating disorders in a group of subjects at risk because of professional pressures to remain thin revealed a profile which differed significantly from that of women developing eating disorders in the general population.

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