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The purpose of this study was twofold: to explore the utility of components related to the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model of eating disorders within an athletic population and to investigate the extent to which the model can be applied across gender, sport type, and performance standard to explain eating psychopathology. Five hundred and eighty-eight (N = 588) male and female British athletes completed a battery of self-report instruments related to eating psychopathology, interpersonal diffculties, perfectionism, self-esteem, and mood. Structural equation modeling revealed that eating psychopathology may arise from an interaction of interpersonal diffculties, low self-esteem, high levels of self-critical perfectionism, and depressive symptoms. Analysis further highlighted that the manner in which eating psychopathology may arise is invariant across athletes’ sport type and performance standard, but not across gender. The current findings suggest that the tested components of the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model are pertinent and useful in explaining eating psychopathology among athletes.
Vaithehy Shanmugam and Sophia Jowett are with the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Caroline Meyer is Director of Loughborough Centre for Research into Eating Disorders, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University.