Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH

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Preliminary evaluation of the online course "I Care" targeting eating disorder knowledge and attitudes among sports coaches and fitness instructors
Natl Eating Disorders Patient & Advocacy Org, Frisk & Fri Riksforeningen Mot Atstorningar, Inedalsgatan 5, S-11233 Stockholm, Sweden..
Karolinska Inst, Dept Med Epidemiol & Biostat MEB, Nobels Vag 12A, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden..
Natl Eating Disorders Patient & Advocacy Org, Frisk & Fri Riksforeningen Mot Atstorningar, Inedalsgatan 5, S-11233 Stockholm, Sweden.;Karolinska Inst, Dept Med Epidemiol & Biostat MEB, Nobels Vag 12A, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9550-3820
2022 (English)In: Journal of Eating Disorders, E-ISSN 2050-2974, Vol. 10, no 1, article id 142Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Plain English summary Fitness instructors, coaches and trainers are often looked up to within their sporting community. They are also likely to meet individuals at risk for developing eating disorders, since excessive or compulsive exercise is a common symptom of these disorders. Coaches therefore need to know more about how to promote healthy ideals and how to detect and approach individuals at risk of developing an eating disorder. We studied if a brief online education called I Care could improve personal compulsive exercise tendencies, knowledge about eating disorders, and readiness to approach individuals seemingly at risk, in 150 coaches, trainers, and fitness instructors. We found that coaches felt more confident and knowledgeable about warning signs and how to approach a person at risk after completing I Care. They also showed increased insight about EDs not being recognizable just by looking at a person and their attitudes about their own exercise behavior changed in a positive way. Although the lack of a comparison group makes conclusions tentative, I Care may have positive effects in terms of a "declaration of intent" toward more positive role-modeling and interactions with clients. Background Fitness instructors, coaches and trainers are often looked up to and seen as role-models within their sporting community. Since problematic exercise is a common symptom of eating disorders, they are also highly likely to meet individuals at risk for developing eating disorders within their profession. Thus, educating coaches about how to promote healthy ideals within their sports/training context and equipping them with knowledge to be able to detect and approach individuals at risk, is of great importance. Method We studied the pre-to-post effects of the I Care online psychoeducational intervention in 150 coaches, trainers, and fitness instructors. Variables included the Compulsive Exercise Test, as well as knowledge of eating disorders, and confidence and awareness regarding approaching, talking to, and referring individuals whose observed behavior raised concerns. Results Results showed significant and large improvements in coaches' confidence and knowledge regarding warning signs and how to approach an at-risk person, and a decrease in their perceived ability to recognize eating disorders by sight, e.g., insight about EDs not being recognizable just by looking at a person. Also, significant positive change in attitudes about their own rule-driven exercise behavior and lack of enjoyment of exercise was observed. Conclusions Although the lack of a control group compels caution, the study suggests that I Care may have positive effects in terms of a "declaration of intent" toward more positive role-modeling and interactions with clients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BMC , 2022. Vol. 10, no 1, article id 142
Keywords [en]
Eating disorders, Compulsive exercise, Coaches, Trainers, Fitness instructors, Confidence, Knowledge, Education
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7745DOI: 10.1186/s40337-022-00663-1ISI: 000861876200002PubMedID: 36175946OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-7745DiVA, id: diva2:1795184
Available from: 2023-09-07 Created: 2023-09-07 Last updated: 2023-09-07

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Forsén Mantilla, Emma

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