Psychosocial Correlates of Disordered Eating Among Male Collegiate Athletes

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Trent A. PetrieUniversity of North Texas

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Christy GreenleafUniversity of North Texas

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Jennifer E. CarterThe Ohio State University

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Justine J. ReelUniversity of Utah

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Few studies have been conducted examining male athletes and eating disorders, even though the sport environment may increase their risk. Thus, little information exists regarding the relationship of putative risk factors to eating disorders in this group. To address this issue, we examined the relationship of eating disorder classification to the risk factors of body image concerns (including drive for muscularity), negative affect, weight pressures, and disordered eating behaviors. Male college athletes (N= 199) from three different NCAA Division I universities participated. Only two athletes were classified with an eating disorder, though 33 (16.6%) and 164 (82.4%), respectively, were categorized as symptomatic and asymptomatic. Multivariate analyses revealed that eating disorder classification was unrelated to the majority of the risk factors, although the eating disorder group (i.e., clinical and symptomatic) did report greater fear of becoming fat, more weight pressures from TV and from magazines, and higher levels of stress than the asymptomatic athletes. In addition, the eating disorder group had higher scores on the Bulimia Test-Revised (Thelen, Mintz, & Vander Wal, 1996), which validated the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis (Mintz, O’Halloran, Mulholland, & Schneider, 1997) as a measure of eating disorders with male athletes. These findings suggest that variables that have been supported as risk factors among women in general, and female athletes in particular, may not apply as strongly, or at all, to male athletes.

Trent A. Petrie is with the Department of Psychology, and Christy Greenleaf is with the Department of KHPR, both at the University of North Texas in Denton. E-mail: petriet@unt.edu. Justine J. Reel is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Utah. Jennifer E. Carter is with the Department of Family Medicine at The Ohio State University.

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