Body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders in elite professional female ballet dancers

Antonio Leandro Nascimento, Juliano Victor Luna, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

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BACKGROUND: Our objective is to report the prevalence and the clinical features associated with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and eating disorders (ED) in a group of elite Brazilian professional female ballet dancers. METHODS: Thirty-five elite Brazilian professional female ballet dancers were invited to participate in the study and 19 agreed to be assessed. Individuals were evaluated with a series of instruments, including the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview supplemented by the somatoform and eating disorders modules of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV disorders, the Bulimic Investigatory Test, and the Beck Depression Inventory. RESULTS: Three dancers (15.78%) had a lifetime diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (restrictive subtype) and 2 others (10.52%) presented a current diagnosis of BDD. No individuals had current or lifetime bulimia nervosa. Results could not be ascribed to comorbid major depression or increased severity of depression. CONCLUSION: The lifetime prevalence of BDD and ED among elite professional female ballet dancers was higher than the general population. High standards of beauty, public body exposure, and repeated exposure to mirrors in the rehearsal rooms may contribute to the development of body image disorders in this sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-193
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Etiology

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