Disordered eating in women's gymnastics: Perspectives of athletes, coaches, parents, and judges

Gretchen Kerr, Erica Berman, Mary Jane De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (SciVal)


This study examined the knowledge base and perspectives of current and retired gymnasts, parents, coaches and judges with respect to disordered eating in gymnasts. Surveys were designed for this study and included open-ended questions, Likert scales, and checklists. The results indicated that various discrepancies existed between the groups' reports. For example, the retired gymnasts reported more eating disorders and negative views of their experiences than did the current gymnasts. The coaches attributed the use of unhealthy weight control practices to other coaches but not to themselves. Gymnasts who received disparaging comments about their bodies or instructions to lose weight had significantly more disordered eating patterns than those who had not received such comments. The importance of one's social environment on eating and weight control practices is emphasized. Every group recommended further education about nutrition, adolescent development, body image, and psychological well-being. Limitations and future recommendations are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-43
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology


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