A Comparison of Female College Athletes and Nonathletes: Eating Disorder Symptomatology and Psychological Well-Being

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Patricia Marten DiBartoloSmith College

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Carey ShafferSmith College

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This study examines eating attitudes, body satisfaction, reasons for exercise, and general psychological well-being in female nonathletes and Division III college athletes. A total of 115 nonathletes and 94 athletes completed measures of eating attitudes, body satisfaction, trait affect, reasons for exercise, and perceived self-competence. On the majority of measures, the scores of athletes revealed less eating disorder symptomatology and more healthy psychological functioning than the scores of nonathletes. These results indicate that female athletic involvement can be associated with healthy eating and psychological functioning. Future research should give consideration to which environments may foster healthy sports participation.

Patricia Marten DiBartolo is with the Clark Science Center, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063; Carey Shaffer is now a PhD student at the California School of Professional Psychology, Alameda, CA.

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