Subclinical eating disorders in male athletes. A study of the low weight category in rowers and wrestlers

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1993 Oct;88(4):259-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1993.tb03454.x.


This study investigated the possibility that male athletes who, owing to the rules of their sport, are pressured to maintain a low weight show an elevated prevalence of subclinical eating disorders. Twenty-five wrestlers and 59 rowers in the lower weight categories were investigated using the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI). Fifty-two percent of the athletes reported the occurrence of binging. The EDI profiles of 11% of the athletes suggested the presence of a subclinical eating disorder. These figures are clearly elevated compared with the normal male population. Low-weight wrestlers and rowers should be considered a high-risk male population for subclinical eating disorders. These findings are comparable to high-risk groups consisting mainly of women (such as ballet and modelling students). The causal relationship between the specific sport and the development of a psychogenic eating disorder is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Wrestling / psychology*