Maladaptive eating behaviors in university female athletes




Holcomb, Michelle Rausch

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The purpose of this research study is to investigate the differences in disordered eating patterns and body image when comparing athletes participating in lean vs. non-lean sports. In addition, sociocultural factors were investigated to determine how they contribute to the current body image of the athletes. All participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI-3), and the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26). Three hypotheses were posed: Hypothesis I: Athletes in lean sports will have a higher incidence of disordered eating patterns than athletes in non-lean sports. Hypothesis II: Athletes in lean sports are more likely to develop a negative body image than athletes in non-lean sports. Hypothesis III: Athletes participating in lean sports report that sociocultural factors more negatively influence their eating patterns and body image than athletes in non-lean sports. The results of this study indicated that there was no significant difference between lean and non-lean athletes in terms of eating attitudes and body image. In regard to sociocultural influences, lean athletes indicate society had a significant influence on their body image when compared to non-lean athletes. The results of this study provided practical implications for counselors when working with this unique population.


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Athletes, College, Disordered Eating, Eating Disorders, Females, Sociocultural