Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type

Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Human Nutrition

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Ashley Licata

Committee Member

Karin Evans

Committee Member

Hope Lima

Committee Member

Duha Hamed

Abstract

Background: Investigations into body image and disordered eating habits among aesthetic sports has shown that these athletes face pressures to be thin and to be a certain body type for their sport.

Research aim/question(s): This study sought to determine if disordered eating habits and body dissatisfaction were prevalent within this population, whether or not there is a relationship between body image and disordered eating, and to determine the current research gap on body image and disordered eating among cheerleaders and dancers.

Materials and Methods: Participants were 23 females including cheerleaders and dancers on the Spirit Squad as well as dance students from the dance department. Participants responded to personal demographic questions and completed the validated body image questionnaire (BIQ) and validated disordered eating questionnaire (FAST) via an online Qualtrics survey in the spring 2020 semester.

Results: A total of 60% of participants were found to be at risk for disordered eating and eating disorders. Participants were found to be at moderate risk for body image dissatisfaction with an average BIQ score of 2.1. Body dissatisfaction had a positive linear relationship with disordered eating (r=0.5). A slight positive linear correlation exists between BMI and body dissatisfaction (r=0.218). Almost no linear relationship exists between BMI and disordered eating (r=0.167). There is no relationship between class and disordered eating (p=1).

Conclusion: Previous research has shown prevalence rates of body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors in aesthetic sports. The results of this study address the research gap by reporting an association between body image concerns and disordered eating and/or eating disorder pathology in a population of collegiate cheerleaders and dancers.

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