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Ashley Coker-Cranney

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Ashley Coker-Cranney and Justine J. Reel

When athletes “uncritically accept” the coaching expectations associated with their sport, negative health consequences (e.g., disordered eating behaviors, clinical eating disorders) may result. The coach’s influence on disordered eating behaviors may be a product of factors related to overconformity to the sport ethic, issues with coach communication regarding recommendations for weight management, and the strength of the coach-athlete relationship. The present study investigated perceived weight-related coach pressure, the coach-athlete relationship, and disordered eating behaviors by surveying 248 female varsity athletes and dancers from four universities. Mediational analysis revealed that the coach-athlete relationship was a partial mediating variable between perceived coach pressures and disordered eating behaviors. Subsequently, strong relationships between coaches and their athletes may reduce the negative impact of perceived weight-related coach pressure on the development or exacerbation of disordered eating behaviors in female collegiate athletes.

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William C. Way, Ashley M. Coker-Cranney and Jack C. Watson II

Using the framework of multidisciplinary best practice recommendations promoted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, this study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate Division I student-athletes’ perceived access to and satisfaction with mental health service availability. Participants were asked about their satisfaction with direct (e.g., counseling, psychiatry, assessment) and indirect (e.g., mental health outreach, educational workshops) service availability, both on campus and within athletics. Results from a researcher-generated survey indicated that participants were moderately satisfied with service availability in each of the four contexts. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that student-athletes’ satisfaction was predicted by different factors for each service type-location combination. Qualitative data contained requests for more athlete-centered mental health services as well as more preventative outreach in general. These data provide a foundation for understanding factors that influence student-athletes’ satisfaction with mental health service availability and offer practical implications for current best practice recommendations.