Correlates of eating disorders risk among female figure skates: a profile of adolescent competitors

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Objectives:To present a profile of eating disorder risk among figure skaters by (a) comparing somatotype and BMI as biological variables in explaining Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) variance; (b) examining relationships among physical characteristics, physique-related perceptions, and psychological indicators of eating disorders, and (c) determining if a composite of physical and psychological variables could discriminate solo skaters from dance and pair skaters.Design:Cross-sectional.Methods:A battery of anthropometric dimensions was taken, and the Physical Self Description Questionnaire, Social Physique Anxiety Scale, and EDI were completed by 114 competitive female figure skaters 12–22 yrs of age.Results:Correlation analyses indicated that the BMI was the most robust biological variable for subsequent analyses. Using hierarchical stepwise regression analysis to determine if physical self-perceptions predicted EDI subscale score, age was forced into each analysis at the first step followed by the BMI at step two. A composite of psychological variables (SPAS and select PSDQ subscales) were randomly entered at step three. Beyond age and the BMI, each of the EDI subscales was predicted by at least one psychological variable, with the SPAS predicting six of the eight subscales. Physical and psychological variables accounted for 3% to 63% of the variance in the EDI subscale scores. Dancers and pair skaters were older and less endomorphic, and reported higher Health scores, but lower Appearance scores compared to solo skaters.Conclusion:Contextual, physical and psychological variables appear to be germane features of eating disorder risk among competitive adolescent female figure skaters.

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