The correlation among body image disturbance, disordered eating, self-esteem and sport competition anxiety of elite athletes in Hong Kong amidst COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot study

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between body image dissatisfaction, disordered eating, self-esteem and sport competition anxiety among elite athletes from Hong Kong national team. Participants were recruited either by direct personal approach or during their regular body composition analysis at the Hong Kong Sports Institute from November to December 2020 amidst COVID-19 pandemic through convenience sampling. Their body image disturbance, disordered eating, self-esteem and sport competition anxiety were measured by several self-administered questionnaires, including the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ-8D), SCOFF questionnaire, Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (mainly items assessing eating disorder behaviors and eating concern), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Sport Competition Anxiety Test. Fifty-six participants consisting of 30 females and 26 males, aged 15-38 joined the study. The SCOFF questionnaire identified 23.2% of the elite athletes were at a high risk of having an eating disorder. The Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire revealed their disordered eating behaviors, including dieting (66.1%), compulsive exercise (44.6%), binge eating (39.3%), self-induced vomiting (8.9%) and use of laxative (5.4%). The Mann-Whitney U test showed that females had more significant body image dissatisfaction than males. However, both groups had no significant difference in their disordered eating, self-esteem and sport competition anxiety. The Spearman’s rank correlation test confirmed significant relationships between body image dissatisfaction, disordered eating, self-esteem and sport competition anxiety among elite athletes. There was a significant positive correlation between sport competition anxiety with body image dissatisfaction (rs=0.41, p<0.01) and eating concern (rs=0.38, p<0.01). In addition, sport competition anxiety was negatively correlated with self-esteem (rs= -0.38, p<0.01). The findings imply the need for implementing effective and timely interventions to decrease elite athletes’ body image dissatisfaction, disordered eating symptoms and eating concern in order to release their sport competition anxiety and boost their self-esteem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Eating Disorders 2021: Cultivating inclusivity & diversity across research & Practice
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2021

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