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Comparison of disordered eating symptoms and emotion regulation difficulties between female college athletes and non-athletes

Highlights•Female college students report a higher prevalence of disordered eating symptoms than their student-athlete counterparts•Female college athletes appear to have better emotion regulation skills than non-athletes•Emotion regulation may be an important predictor of disordered eating in female college students•Emotion regulation assessment should be considered for inclusion in DE screenings with female college populationAbstractThe purpose of the study was to compare the prevalence of disordered eating between female college athletes and non-athletes and explore emotion regulation as a potential mediator of the link between participation in athletics and disordered eating symptoms. Data for this cross-sectional study came from 527 college students in a mid-western state of the USA in fall of 2013 (376 non-athletes and 151 athletes). Disordered eating symptoms and emotion regulation were assessed utilizing the Eating Attitudes Test and the Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale in a survey-based format. The prevalence of disordered eating was higher in non-athletes (16.5%, vs. 6.6%; X2 = 62.8; p < .05). Non-athletes reported more signs and symptoms of disordered eating than athletes (p < .01). A linear regression approach indicated a statistically significant indirect effect (0.63, CI95 = 0.18, 1.20) of athletic-status on disordered eating via emotion regulation; however, this effect did not reach practical significance. Our findings show that female athletes in our sample were somewhat protected from disordered eating compared to non-athletes, but the mechanism of this relationship is unclear. A further in-depth examination of other factors, such as self-esteem and body satisfaction, that may have contributed to this finding is warranted utilizing a large sample of female college students and athletes representing a variety of sports.

مقایسه علایم اختلال خوردن و مشکلات تنظیم هیجان بین دانشجویان دختر ورزش‌کار و غیر ورزش‌کار

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