What position do you play? Eating disorder pathology among rugby players, and the understudied role of player position

Emilio J. Compte, Stuart B. Murray, Ana R. Sepúlveda, Sofia Schweiger, Michelle Bressan, Fernando Torrente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Male athletes appear to be at high risk for Eating Disorders (ED), given sport-related pressures. Although in some sports weight loss confers a competitive advantage, men also participate in sports where a large body is considered to enhance performance. In rugby a heavier body has been associated with sports success, however, physical demands vary given the position in the field (forward or back). We aimed to investigate whether ED pathology varied as a function of player position. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 203 rugby players (Mage = 21.78, SD = 3.54) in order assess associations between elevated eating pathology given the players' position, and with ED mediating mechanisms (physical comparison and exercise dependence). Results: 8.9% (95% CI: 4.9, 12.8) of the participants presented elevated eating pathology. Players' position, physical comparison and exercise dependence were associated with elevated eating pathology. Forwards tended to endorse binge eating more frequently, and showed higher levels of eating concerns. Discussion: Our findings suggest that ED symptoms differ as a function of player position, and that elevated eating pathology in rugby players is associated with appearance comparison and exercise dependence. Despite the possible implications for prevention and treatment efforts, the clinical validity of the current findings must be confirmed with further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1019
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • athletes
  • eating pathology
  • exercise dependencemen
  • physical comparison
  • rugby


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