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Laura D. DiPasquale and Trent A. Petrie

Eating disorder prevalence rates among athletes vary greatly because of the different ways in which researchers have measured and classified them, and the extent to which they are higher than those found among nonathletes remains unresolved. The present study examined prevalence of eating disorders, body image issues, and weight control behaviors using a valid diagnostic measure. Participants included 146 male and 156 female NCAA Division I student-athletes and a matched sample of 170 male and 353 female collegiate nonathletes. Overall, eating disorder prevalence rates and use of pathogenic weight control behaviors were lower among nonathletes than athletes. Rates for athletes in the current study were lower than previous studies. These findings are likely due to the lack of anonymity the athletes had when completing questionnaires, as data were collected through athletes’ preseason physicals, whereas nonathletes completed questionnaires anonymously over the Internet. Recommendations for athletic departments’ screening for eating disorders are made.

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Kayla W. Carrigan, Trent A. Petrie, and Carlin M. Anderson

Female athletes have been identified as a subpopulation at heightened risk for disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, particularly due to weight pressures in their environment. Using a sample of 414 NCAA Division-I female collegiate athletes, we examined the relations of required team weigh-ins or self-weighing on disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. Through a series of multivariate analyses, we determined that team weighs were significantly unrelated to all outcome measures. Self-weighing, however, differentiated the athletes’ scores on internalization, body satisfaction, dietary restraint, negative affect, and bulimic symptomatology; athletes who self-weighed three or more times a week reported significantly higher levels of pathology across all measures. Mandatory team-conducted weigh-ins appear to not be a salient pressure for female gymnasts and swimmer/divers, although the frequency of their self-weighing may represent a level of self-monitoring that is associated with greater endorsement of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.

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Justine Chatterton, Trent A. Petrie, Keke L. Schuler, and Camilo Ruggero

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; M age = 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.

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Christy Greenleaf, Trent Petrie, Justine Reel, and Jennifer Carter

Petrie and Greenleaf (2007) presented a psychosocial model of disordered eating for female athletes. Based upon the 2007 model, the present study examined four key psychosocial variables: internalization, body dissatisfaction, restrained eating, and negative affect, as predictors of bulimic symptoms among NCAA Division I female athletes. Two hundred four women (N = 204) participated and were drawn from three different universities and competed in 17 different varsity sports. After controlling for the effects of body mass and social desirability, hierarchical regression analysis showed that the psychosocial variables explained 42% of the variance in bulimic symptoms. In the full model, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, more dietary restraint, and stronger feelings of guilt were associated with bulimic symptomatology. Internalization of the sociocultural ideal as well as feelings of fear, hostility, or sadness were unrelated.

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Carlin M. Anderson, Trent A. Petrie, and Craig S. Neumann

In this study, we tested Petrie and Greenleaf’s (2007) model of bulimic symptoms in two independent samples of female collegiate swimmers/divers and gymnasts. Structural equation modeling revealed support for the model, although it also suggested additional pathways. Specifically, general societal pressures regarding weight and body were related to the internalization of those ideals and, subsequently, to increases in body dissatisfaction. Pressures from the sport environment regarding weight and appearance were associated with more body dissatisfaction and more restrictive eating. Body dissatisfaction was related to more feelings of sadness, anger, and fear among the athletes. Negative affect, body dissatisfaction, and dietary restraint were related directly to bulimic symptoms, accounting for 55-58% of its variance. These results suggest that general sociocultural pressures are influential, but weight and appearance pressures in the sport environment may be even more pervasive and negative for female athletes.

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Trent A. Petrie, Christy Greenleaf, Jennifer E. Carter, and Justine J. Reel

Few studies have been conducted examining male athletes and eating disorders, even though the sport environment may increase their risk. Thus, little information exists regarding the relationship of putative risk factors to eating disorders in this group. To address this issue, we examined the relationship of eating disorder classification to the risk factors of body image concerns (including drive for muscularity), negative affect, weight pressures, and disordered eating behaviors. Male college athletes (N= 199) from three different NCAA Division I universities participated. Only two athletes were classified with an eating disorder, though 33 (16.6%) and 164 (82.4%), respectively, were categorized as symptomatic and asymptomatic. Multivariate analyses revealed that eating disorder classification was unrelated to the majority of the risk factors, although the eating disorder group (i.e., clinical and symptomatic) did report greater fear of becoming fat, more weight pressures from TV and from magazines, and higher levels of stress than the asymptomatic athletes. In addition, the eating disorder group had higher scores on the Bulimia Test-Revised (Thelen, Mintz, & Vander Wal, 1996), which validated the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis (Mintz, O’Halloran, Mulholland, & Schneider, 1997) as a measure of eating disorders with male athletes. These findings suggest that variables that have been supported as risk factors among women in general, and female athletes in particular, may not apply as strongly, or at all, to male athletes.

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Trent A. Petrie, Karen D. Cogan, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Britton W. Brewer

An investigation was conducted to examine the possibility of gender bias in the evaluation of sport psychology consultants. AAASP members were sent a packet that included a description of a football player who wanted to work with a sport psychology consultant to improve his consistency, a vita of a fictitious sport psychology consultant, and a rating questionnaire. The packets differed only in regard to the gender of the fictitious sport psychology consultant, which served as the independent variable, with half the sample being assigned to the male condition and the other half to the female condition. Participants (N = 293) evaluated the sport psychology consultant on several dimensions and indicated how strongly they would recommend the consultant to the football player. Results indicated that participants generally evaluated the fictitious sport psychology consultant similarly, regardless of gender. Indeed, the only gender differences that emerged were that the female sport psychology consultant was rated higher than the male consultant on attractiveness, trustworthiness, and general “good counselor” dimensions. Even though evidence of bias against women did not emerge in this study, the importance of promoting an atmosphere of inclusion for both male and female sport psychologists still exists.

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Megan Brannan, Trent A. Petrie, Christy Greenleaf, Justine Reel, and Jennifer Carter

In this study, we extended past research (Brannan & Petrie, 2008; Tylka, 2004) by examining perfectionism, optimism, self-esteem, and reasons for exercising as moderators of the body dissatisfaction-bulimic symptoms relationship among female collegiate athletes (N= 204). Hierarchical moderated regression was used to control for social desirability and physical size and then tested the main and interactive effects of the models. Body dissatisfaction was related to the measure of bulimic symptoms, accounting for 24% of the variance. Four variables were statistically significant as moderators. More concern over mistakes and being motivated to exercise to improve appearance and attractiveness or to socialize and improve mood increased the strength of the relationship between body dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms. Self-esteem had a buffering effect that resulted in a weakened relationship.

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Justine J. Reel, Sonya SooHoo, Holly Doetsch, Jennifer E. Carter, and Trent A. Petrie

The purpose of the study was to determine prevalence rates of the female athlete triad (Triad), differences by sport category (aesthetic, endurance, and team/anaerobic), and the relationship between each of the components of the Triad. Female athletes (N= 451) from three Division I universities with an average age of 20 years completed the Menstrual History Questionnaire, Injury Assessment Questionnaire, and the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnoses (Q-EDD; Mintz, O’Halloran, Mulholland, & Schneider, 1997). Almost 7% of female athletes reported clinical eating disorders, and 19.2% reported subclinical disordered eating. Disordered eating was prevalent in all three sport categories with no significant differences between groups. Muscle injuries were more prevalent in team/anaerobic sports (77.4%) than the aesthetic (68.1%) and endurance groups (58.1%). Furthermore, those athletes with menstrual dysfunction more frequently reported clinical eating disorders (1.4%) and sustained more skeletal injuries (51%) during their athletic career than athletes with regular menstrual function. Clinical implications and further research directions are addressed.

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Shelly T. Sheinbein, Trent A. Petrie, Scott Martin, and Christy A. Greenleaf

Background:

A lot of evidence showed that boys and girls are at high risk of developing major or minor depression in adolescence. Increases in physical fitness have been associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms, yet the mechanisms that underlie (or mediate) this relationship have not been thoroughly examined.

Methods:

528 boys (mean age = 12.33 years) and 507 girls (mean age = 12.32 years) drawn from a suburban school district participated. Self-report measures were used to assess the mediators (body satisfaction and social physique anxiety) and the outcome (depression); the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) in conjunction with age, Body Mass Index (BMI), and sex were used to determine an objective estimate of cardiorespiratory fitness. Path analyses were used to test the proposed models.

Results:

The effects of fitness on depressive symptoms were mediated through body satisfaction and social physique anxiety; 25% to 35% of the depression variance was explained.

Conclusion:

Boys’ and girls’ depression scores were based on the extent that their fitness levels improved their body satisfaction and lowered their social physique anxiety; body satisfaction was particularly important for girls. Thus, early adolescents’ psychological well-being may be enhanced through improvements in aerobic functioning.