Mental Health in Dancers; an Intervention Study

2019-09-17 02:47:41 | BioPortfolio


International studies reveal high prevalence of eating disorders (ED) and mental health issues amongst professional dancers, and the Norwegian National Ballet's house previously (2005) reported a lifetime prevalence of ED by 50% amongst female ballet dancers. Mental health issues and ED have been acknowledged for several years in most sports; still the same do not apply to dance sports. The objective of this study is to improve the knowledge on prevalence of mental health issues in professional dancers and the corresponding awareness of such among dance teachers. Additional objectives are to evaluate the effect of an intervention aimed to improve knowledge on nutrition, recovery strategies and mental health literacy among professional dancers and their teachers.


It is well documented that professional dancing increases the risk for, or strongly associates to, mental health issues like eating disorders, anxiety, and compulsive-obsessive disorders. As much as the international sport society has acknowledged the challenges on ED in sport, the same do not apply to dance. The point prevalence of ED in the general european population is about 0.3-4.0%, with a corresponding prevalence amongst professional dancers of 12.0-26.5%. Furthermore, the highest risk for ED among dance discipline is found to be within ballet. There are no reports on prevalence in Norwegian dancers; however, the Norwegian National Ballet's house reports a lifetime prevalence of 50% amongst ballet dancers. Previous studies have identified low knowledge and practice on performance nutrition and weight regulation strategies among dancers and their teachers. Findings indicates high risk of low energy availability, implying a high risk for the many associated negative effects on physical and mental health and performance capacity. Additionally, studies finds high levels of body dissatisfaction, body weight concern, perfectionism and low self-esteem, and also high prevalence of anxiety and depression.

Several intervention studies finds positive effect on body dissatisfaction, disordered eating behaviour, nutritional intake in sport athletes, and also in ballet dancers in the US and Canada. Nevertheless, so far there haven't been any intervention in Norwegian dancers.

The objective with this study is to explore mental health in professional dancers and their knowledge on recovery strategies and nutritional needs, and to implement and evaluate the effect of an intervention designed to improve these aspects. A group of performance art students serves as control to the intervention effect. Additionally this study evaluates the knowledge of these issues amongst dancers and how to deal with such issues, in dance teachers, and aims to implement and evaluate the effect of an intervention designed to improve the knowledge on these aspects.

Study Design


Mental Health Impairment


Mental health literacy in dancers, Mental health literacy in dance teachers


Norwegian School of Sports Sciences


Enrolling by invitation


Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-09-17T02:47:41-0400

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