Body image distortion, perfectionism and eating disorder symptoms in risk group of female ballet dancers and models and in control group of female students

Emina Zoletić, Elvira Duraković-Belko
Psychiatria Danubina 2009, 21 (3): 302-9

BACKGROUND: The aim of this research was to examine differences among two groups of girls, models and ballerinas (with risk factors - experimental group) and young students (control group), in body image preception, body mass index, neurotic perfectionism, body - image distortion and simptoms of eating disorders.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The research was conducted with 91 participants divided in two groups, control group - 55 students at University of Sarajevo and experimental group - 13 professional ballerinas, 23 professional models. During this research work we used several measuring instruments: Body mass index; Body Mass Index - Silhouette Matching Test; Neurotic Perfectionism Questioner; Eating Disorders Inventory.

RESULTS: In this study statistically significant differences occur between these two groups of girls which are related to body - image perception and objective position on the body mass index chart. All 91 participants saw themselves as obese. Statistically significant differences occur in body - image distortion and simptoms of eating disorders in the experimental group, they have high scores on body - image distortion, on eating disorders inventory and neurotic perfectionism simptoms.

CONCLUSION: Based on th results in this study, we may conclude that there are groups of people who have risk factors for developing some kind of eating disorder, so it would be desirable to create a preventive intervention for young ballerinas and models, but also for those people who coach them, trainers, instructors and managers. For other population groups with risky behavior such as young children, a prevention plan and modifications of cultural influences on people's opinion of body image are extremely important.

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