The Role of Division III Sports Participation in the Relationship Between Perfectionism and Disordered Eating Symptomology

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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Perfectionism functions as a transdiagnostic risk factor for a variety of negative mental health outcomes, including eating disorders. Female athletes are believed to be especially vulnerable to eating pathology and some aspects of perfectionism. However, it is unknown whether perfectionism functions similarly as a risk factor in athlete and non-athlete groups with regards to negative eating behaviors and body attitudes. The present study assessed the moderating effect of athletic involvement on the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism and disordered eating symptomology among collegiate women competing at an amateur level. Female undergraduates (N = 478) were categorized into the following subgroups based on athlete status: aesthetic sport athletes, team/individual sport athletes, and non-athletes. Results indicated that levels of perfectionism and disordered eating symptomology did not differ between groups. However, both athletic involvement as a whole and type of sport played each moderated the relationship between dimensions of perfectionism and disordered eating, demonstrating that continued efforts to educate collegiate women about healthy eating and exercise behavior are still of critical importance for their overall well-being.

Somasundaram and Burgess are with the Dept. of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Address author correspondence to Pooja Somasundaram at poojasomasundaram@gmail.com.
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