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Keywords:

  • ballet;
  • dancers;
  • adolescents;
  • eating disorders

Abstract

Objective

The current study compared the prevalence of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors among adolescent ballet dancers at national, regional, and local schools.

Method

Female ballet students (N = 239; mean age = 15.0 ± 1.5 years) from five geographically disparate summer programs completed the Eating Dis-order Inventory (EDI) and answered questions regarding eating disorder symptoms.

Results

Students from both national and local schools reported significantly higher EDI total, Drive for Thinness, and Perfectionism scores compared with regional students. In contrast, national students reported significantly greater dieting scores and lifetime histories of self-induced vomiting compared with regional and local students.

Conclusion

Eating pathology among adolescent ballet dancers may be a function of both genetic and environmental risk. Dancers who exhibit high levels of perfectionism and, perhaps consequently, place themselves in highly competitive environments, may exhibit a significantly increased risk for disordered eating in comparison to dancers who are less perfectionistic and/or place themselves in less competitive environments. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.