Slimming Down for Sport: Developing a Weight Pressures in Sport Measure for Female Athletes

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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  • 1 University of Utah
  • | 2 Center for Health Care Evaluation
  • | 3 University of North Texas
  • | 4 Center for Balanced Living
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Previous research with female athletes has yielded equivocal findings when comparing disordered eating rates to nonathlete populations, but the rates differ for athletes in leanness and nonleanness sports (Sherman & Thompson, 2009). The purpose of the current study was to develop a measure to assess sport-specific weight pressures for female athletes. Secondly, this study identified frequencies of weight, size, and appearance pressures across sports. Participants (N =204) were female Division I athletes from three universities who represented 17 sports. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a 4-factor solution for the 16-item Weight Pressures in Sport for Females (WPS-F) scale with strong internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.90). The most frequently reported pressures among female college athletes were teammates (36.8%), uniform (34.3%), and coach (33.8%). These findings are discussed in comparison with previous research along with clinical and research implications for using the WPS-F in sport psychology settings.

Justine J. Reel is an assistant professor with the Department of Health Promotion and Education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Sonya SooHoo is a social science research associate at Center for Health Care Evaluation in Menlo Park, CA. Trent Petrie is a professor and Director of the Center for Sport Psychology and Christy Greenleaf is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiol-ogy, Health Promotion, & Recreation, both at the University of North Texas in Denton. Jennifer Carter is a licensed counseling psychologist with a specialty in sport psychology at the Center for Balanced Living in Worthington, OH.