Women who are collegiate cheerleaders have strict appearance requirements which likely contributes to them having a higher prevalence of body image (BI) dissatisfaction and eating disorders (ED) risk than the general population. Men who are collegiate cheerleaders also have appearance requirements and may be at-risk; however, there is a gap in the literature regarding this specific population. Additionally, underclassmen cheerleaders may feel pressure to conform to the upperclassmen standards. Many collegiate cheerleaders do not have the same access to medical resources as athletes competing within the NCAA membership, leaving them vulnerable to undetected pathogenic eating behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine BI dissatisfaction and ED risk in collegiate cheerleaders. Ninety-seven cheerleaders from 12 Division I universities completed the online survey. Risk of ED was demonstrated in 50% of women and 34% of men. Men and women were equally likely to experience body dissatisfaction (p=.407). Regarding the specific behaviors that identify someone as at-risk for an ED, there were few differences between men and women or underclassmen and upperclassmen. Therefore, it appears the unhealthy behaviors cheerleaders engage in are the same for everyone. Men and women cheerleaders both present a risk for ED above the general population. Men should no longer be ignored when examining these health behaviors.
Bouza, Brooke; Blaszka, Christopher; Stokowski, Sarah; Dittmore, Stephen; McDermott, Brendon (2020). Body Size Discrepancy and Eating Disorder Risk in Division I Cheerleaders. The Journal of SPORT 8(1) 8(1) 24-40. doi: 10.21038/sprt.2020.0812. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/sport/vol8/iss1/body-size-discrepancy-and-eating-disorder-risk-division-i-cheerleaders