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Aesthetic Sports as High-Risk Contexts for Eating Disorders — Young Elite Dancers and Gymnasts Perspectives

  • Rita Francisco (a1), Madalena Alarcão (a2) and Isabel Narciso (a1)

Abstract

This is the first study developed in Portugal which investigates specific characteristics of dance and gymnastics environments that make them high-risk contexts for the development of eating disorders. Four focus groups were conducted with thirteen ballet students from a professional dance school and nine gymnasts from a gymnastics club (aged 12 to 17 years old), which were subjected to an inductive-deductive analysis procedure. Specific risk and protective factors were identified. Among their respective sources of influence, teachers and coaches are those who exert a stronger influence upon young athletes. We also explored some themes related to the influence of peers, parents, and environmental characteristics, which could have an important role on the development or prevention of disordered eating.

Este es el primer estudio realizado en Portugal que tiene como objetivo investigar las características específicas que en el mundo de la danza y de la gimnasia pudieran ser factores de alto riesgo para el desarrollo de trastornos de la conducta alimentaria. Se realizaron cuatro grupos focales con trece estudiantes de danza profesional y nueve gimnastas (de 12 a 17 años). Las transcripciones de los grupos focales fueron sometidas a un procedimiento de análisis inductivo-deductivo. Se identificaron factores de riesgo y protectores específicos. Entre las respectivas fuentes de influencia, los profesores y entrenadores son los que ejercen mayor influencia sobre los jóvenes atletas. También se exploraron algunos temas relacionados con la influencia que tienen compañeros, padres y las características del entorno deportivo; los cuales pueden tener un importante rol tanto en el desarrollo como en la prevención de comportamientos alimentarios alterados.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be adressed to Rita Francisco. Faculdade de Psicologia, Alameda da Universidade. 1649-013 Lisboa (Portugal). E-mail: rmfrancisco@fp.ul.pt

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Keywords

Aesthetic Sports as High-Risk Contexts for Eating Disorders — Young Elite Dancers and Gymnasts Perspectives

  • Rita Francisco (a1), Madalena Alarcão (a2) and Isabel Narciso (a1)

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