Understanding risk factors for disordered eating symptomatology in athletes: A prospective study

Hannah Stoyel, Chris Stride, Vaithehy Shanmuganathan-Felton, Lucy Serpell, Chiara Milanese (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


Disordered eating and eating disorders have huge impact on athletic health and performance. Understanding risk factors for disordered eating development is paramount to protecting the health and performance of these athletes. This project tested a model longitudinally to test whether body dissatisfaction (mediated by negative affect) and societal pressures (mediated by internalisation) predicted bulimic symptomatology at 1 year. The study recruited 1017 male and female athletes in a range of sports at three time points over a year. Cross-lag meditation modelling in MPLUS was utilised to test the hypothesised model. Results indicated that societal pressures mediated by general internalisation led to bulimic symptomatology and that gender and sport type do moderate the relationships. However, measurement issues indicate that scales not originally created for athletes may not reliably measure athletes’ experience. This research highlights how understanding how to better assess risk factors and disordered eating related concepts in athletes is a key next step. The study is unique in its longitudinal design and in its sampling of a wide range of sports in both male and female athletes.

© 2021, The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0257577
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Early online date24 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sept 2021


  • Research Article
  • Biology and life sciences
  • Social sciences
  • Medicine and health sciences
  • Computer and information sciences

Cite this