Disordered eating, amenorrhea, and substance use and misuse among professional ballet dancers: Preliminary analysis
More details
Hide details
University of Split, Split, Croatia (Faculty of Kinesiology)
University of Split, Split, Croatia (Department of Health Studies)
University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia (Faculty of Sport)
Corresponding author
Natasa Zenic   

University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, Teslina 6, 21000 Split
Med Pr 2016;67(1):21–27
Background: Substance use and misuse (SUM), eating disorders (ED) and consequent amenorrhea (AM) occur frequently in professional ballet dancing. The objective of this study has been to explore the prevalence and association between ED, AM and SUM in ballet. Material and Methods: The sample comprised 21 ballet dancers, 23.1±4.5 years old, members of the professional National Ballet Ensemble from Croatia. Variables were collected by questionnaires examining SUM, occurrence of amenorrhea, and corresponding ballet-specific and socio-demographic factors (Questionnaire on Substance Use – QSU) and the level of ED (Brief Eating Disorder in Athletes Questionnaire – BEDA-Q). Results: Smoking is prevalent in 40% of dancers (25% smoke on a daily basis), 36% often use analgesics, and 25% engage in binge drinking at least once a month. Smoking and binge drinking are less frequent in ballerinas with a higher academic level (r = 0.60 and r = 0.54 for binge drinking and smoking, respectively; p < 0.05). Alcohol drinking is higher among dancers who consume analgesics more often and those with a higher BEDA-Q score (r = 0.53 and r = 0.54 for analgesics and BEDA-Q, respectively; p < 0.05). Amenorrhea is more prevalent among those dancers with a higher BEDA-Q score. Women who consume nutritional supplements are less likely to use analgesics (Mann Whitney U test = 2.11; p < 0.05). Conclusions: Efforts seeking to prevent ED in ballet should target dancers who consume alcohol to a greater extent. Future studies should specifically explore the less frequent consumption of analgesics among dancers who consume nutritional supplements. Med Pr 2016;67(1):21–27