"I'd got self-destruction down to a fine art": a qualitative exploration of relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) in endurance athletes

Langbein, Rachel, Martin, Daniel, Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn , Crust, Lee and Jackman, Patricia (2021) "I'd got self-destruction down to a fine art": a qualitative exploration of relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) in endurance athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences . ISSN 0264-0414

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2021.1883312

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"I'd got self-destruction down to a fine art": a qualitative exploration of relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) in endurance athletes
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Abstract

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) is a syndrome of impaired health and performance that occurs as a result of low energy availability (LEA). Whilst many health effects associated with RED-S have been widely studied from a physiological perspective, further research exploring the psychological antecedents and consequences of the syndrome is required. Therefore, the aim of this study was to qualitatively explore athlete experiences of RED-S. Twelve endurance athletes (female n= 10, male n= 2; M age = 28.33 years) reporting past or current experiences of RED-S, associated with periods of LEA, took part in semi-structured interviews designed to explore: contexts and mechanisms underpinning the onset of RED-S; the subjective experience of RED-S; and contexts and mechanisms influencing "recovery" from RED-S. Regardless of how RED-S was initiated, all athletes experienced a multitude of physiological impairments, accompanied by significant psychological distress. This paper contributes novel understanding of the complex interplay between physiological and psychological components of RED-S from the perspective of information-rich cases. The findings suggest that system-wide educational prevention and awareness interventions are vital for athletes and support personnel, such as coaches, parents, dieticians, psychologists, and sports medicine staff.

Keywords:Low energy availability, compulsive exercise, disordered eating, eating disorders, endurance, female athlete triad
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:44577
Deposited On:13 Apr 2021 10:54

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