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We tested Petrie and Greenleaf’s psychosocial model in relation to male athletes’ bulimic symptomatology. Through structural equation modeling, we cross-sectionally examined the direct and indirect effects of general and sport-specific appearance pressures, internalization, body satisfaction, drive for muscularity, negative affect, and dietary restraint on bulimic symptomatology. Participants were U.S. male collegiate athletes (N = 698; Mage = 19.87 years) representing 17 sports. With minor respecifications, the model had acceptable fit, and the psychosocial variables explained 48% of the bulimic symptomatology variance. Although all variable paths were significant, sport pressures, such as from coaches and teammates about weight, importance of appearance, and looking good in a uniform, were the most salient latent variable. Athletes’ engagement in muscle-building behaviors added uniquely and substantively as well. Our analysis begins to clarify the complex interactions among these psychosocial variables in understanding male athletes’ bulimic symptomatology and provides a base from which to develop prevention programming.
Justine Chatterton, Trent A. Petrie, Keke L. Schuler, and Camilo Ruggero are with the Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX.