Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eating disorders and depression in athletes: Does one lead to the other?

Date:
July 15, 2014
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Sport is a proven contributor to high self-esteem, confidence, positive outlook and good health. It would be reasonable to assume then that athletes have higher than average protection from depression and dysfunctional eating? On the contrary, athletes are considered three times more likely to develop an eating disorder and there is strong empirical evidence linking eating disorders and depression. Previous research to determine causality between the two conditions has been conflicting.

Sport is a proven contributor to high self-esteem, confidence, positive outlook and good health. It would be reasonable to assume then that athletes have higher than average protection from depression and dysfunctional eating? On the contrary, athletes are considered three times more likely to develop an eating disorder and there is strong empirical evidence linking eating disorders and depression. Previous research to determine causality between the two conditions has been conflicting.

In the study, "Eating psychopathology as a risk factor for depressive symptoms in a sample of British athletes" in the Journal of Sport Sciences, Shanmugam, Jowett & Meyer ask does depression lead to eating disorders in athletes or vice versa?

Many athletes face various stresses; pressure to train, perform well, financial hardship, as well as maintaining a balance with other aspects of their life such as study, family and friends. Athletes also face pressure to be body perfect. Top flight athletes follow performance boosting nutritional regimes which can deprive them of the nutrients and calories needed for optimal mental health. With statistics noted of up to 17% of competitive athletes showing symptoms of psychiatric disorders and a paucity of research on the subject, the authors conducted a time lapse study. 122 British athletes completed questionnaires assessing weight, diet history, previous eating related diagnoses and desired weight. They were also quizzed on their attitudes to eating; restraint, fear of losing control, weight and self-image issues. Finally they were assessed on their mental state and checked for signs of clinical depression. Six months later, the athletes BMI was checked and two studies conducted; the first examining participants' psychological state at the start point and eating habits after six months, and the second, eating psychopathology at outset and depressive symptoms at the end point. Results make fascinating reading and conflict with the small amount of existing previous research.

It was found by a small margin that eating and diet disturbances were a precursor to depressive tendencies. So, why should athletes, seemingly so invincible be affected? Low self-esteem, failure to meet exacting physical standards, regimented eating and constant negative sport related pressure all add to the mix. How can we protect athletes from this vicious cycle? Despite high profile cases of depressed athletes such as Michael Vaughn and Ricky Hatton, there remains a lack of research and education on behalf of and amongst vulnerable athletes. The authors call for improved education programmes on nutrition and intervention strategies to minimise the risks for athletes. "Given that sport organizations and clubs are ethically and legally responsible for the health and welfare of athletes, it is imperative that practices that increase the risk of eating disorders are minimized as they appear to inadvertently increase the risk of depression in athletes… research needs to move beyond examining the factors that affect eating … to the factors that are affected by eating, so that a more comprehensive and holistic theoretical framework can be established."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett, Caroline Meyer. Eating psychopathology as a risk factor for depressive symptoms in a sample of British athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2014.912758

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Eating disorders and depression in athletes: Does one lead to the other?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715085053.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2014, July 15). Eating disorders and depression in athletes: Does one lead to the other?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715085053.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Eating disorders and depression in athletes: Does one lead to the other?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715085053.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins