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Prevalence and sport-related predictors of disturbed eating attitudes and behaviors: Moderating effects of sex and age

Authors

  • M.-C. Lanfranchi,

    1. UMR 7287 “Institute of Movement Sciences, Etienne-Jules Marey,”, Aix-Marseille Univ and CNRS, Marseille, France
    2. Direction Régionale de la Jeunesse, des Sports et de la Cohésion Sociale, – Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Marseille, France
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  • C. Maïano,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cyberpsychology Laboratory, Département de Psychoéducation et de Psychologie, Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Hull, Quebec, Canada
    • Corresponding author: Christophe Maïano, PhD, Département de Psychoéducation et de Psychologie, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Campus de Saint-Jérôme, 5 rue St Joseph, Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, Canada J7Z 0B7. Tel: +1 450 530 7616, Fax: +1 450 530 2916, E-mail: christophe.maiano@uqo.ca

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  • A. J. S. Morin,

    1. Centre for Positive Psychology and Education, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • P. Therme

    1. UMR 7287 “Institute of Movement Sciences, Etienne-Jules Marey,”, Aix-Marseille Univ and CNRS, Marseille, France
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Abstract

Very few studies examined the prevalence and sport-related predictors of disturbed eating attitudes and behaviors (DEABs) among adolescents involved in sport practice, and their results are mixed and inconclusive. These inconsistencies are most likely due to their methodological heterogeneity and to the fact that none of these studies took into consideration the potentially relevant characteristics of the sport practice context. This study attempts to answer this limitation among French adolescents not involved or involved in various sports contexts defined based on their organization, leanness-centration, and competitive level. Participants were 335 adolescents involved in sport practice, and 435 adolescents not involved in any form of regular sport practice. The DEABs were measured using the Eating Attitudes Test-26. Global results do not showed any significant association between the status of the participants and DEAB. However, these results drastically changed when we considered the potential moderating role of sex and age on these relations. Indeed, sports involvement in general, and involvement in leanness and competitive sports were found to exert sex- and age-differentiated effects on the risks of presenting clinically significant levels of DEAB. This study suggests the importance of monitoring, preventive, and early intervention mechanisms within the context of practice, particularly for adolescent girls.

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