What Is Behind Disordered Eating Behaviors? An Exploratory Study With Female Adolescents From Individual Esthetic and Nonesthetic Sports

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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  • 1 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • | 2 CINEICC—Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention, Coimbra, Portugal
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This study explored the differences in shame, perception of performance, the need to present a perfect body image, and disordered eating among 223 female athletes from esthetic (n = 114; Mage = 14.30; SDage = 1.65; Myearsofpractice = 6.62) and nonesthetic (n = 109; Mage = 14.75; SDage = 1.87; Myearsofpractice = 4.56) individual sports. Descriptive, t test, and correlational analyses were performed. Moreover, path analyses were conducted to examine the link between the variables. The two groups did not present significant differences in variables, except in perception of performance. The path model analyses explained 47% of disordered eating. Results suggested that individual characteristic of sports practice seems relevant in shame. This study suggests that female athletes from individual sports who experience inferiority tend to adopt perfectionist defensive strategies and engage in disordered eating behaviors. This study highlights the relevance of intervention and educational programs that promote more adaptative emotional regulation strategies in female athletes from individual sports.

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