Turning the Corner: A Comparison of Collegiate Athletes’ and Non-Athletes’ Turning Points in Eating Disorder Recovery

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify turning points in eating disorder recovery in collegiate female athletes compared to non-athletes. The sample included 12 varsity athletes and 17 non-athlete college students who previously met criteria for Anorexia Nervosa (AN; n = 17); Bulimia Nervosa (BN; n = 3); Binge Eating Disorder (n = 1); or both AN and BN (n = 8). Participants completed individual interviews and responses were analyzed inductively. There was some commonality in the athletes’ and non-athletes’ experiences. For example, the most frequent turning point for both groups was Insight/Self Realization. Regarding the next three most frequent turning points, athletes reported Sport Performance, Confrontation, and Support/Concern from Others, whereas non-athletes reported Professional Treatment, Hitting a Low, and Support/Concern from Others. This study contributes to the sparse literature on competitive athletes’ recovery. Results indicated that athletes’ turning points differed from non-athletes; therefore, findings are discussed concerning athlete-specific treatment recommendations and suggestions for coaches.

Arthur-Cameselle is with the Health and Human Development Department, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA. Curcio is with the Clinical Psychology Department, William James College, Newton, MA.

Address author correspondence to Jessyca N. Arthur-Cameselle at Jessyca.Arthur-Cameselle@wwu.edu.
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