The present investigation is a qualitative case study of a former elite gymnast. The social cognitive approach to achievement motivation has been applied to understand and explain the behavior of this gymnast, her coaches, and her parents. The gymnast participated in three unstructured interviews which were grounded in a feminist view of sport and research (cf. Harding, 1991; Krane, 1994). The data analysis resulted in three dimensions: Motivational Climate, Evidence of an Ego Orientation, and Correlates of Ego Involvement. An ego-involved motivational environment was developed and reinforced by the gymnast’s coaches and parents. Her ego-involved goal orientation was revealed through her reliance on social comparison, emphasis on external feedback and rewards, need to demonstrate her superiority, and acting out behaviors in the face of adversity. This gymnast practiced and competed while seriously injured, employed unhealthy eating practices, overtrained, and refused to listen to medical advice in order to continue her quest towards the Olympic team. All of these behaviors are discussed within the framework of goal orientation theory.
Reaching for Gold and the Price of Glory: A Motivational Case Study of an Elite Gymnast
Vikki Krane, Jeannine Snow, and Christy A. Greenleaf
The Relationship Between Body Dissatisfaction and Bulimic Symptoms in Female Collegiate Athletes
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.
Worries and Fears Associated With Competitive Gymnastics
Scott B. Martin, Christy M. Polster, Allen W. Jackson, Christy A. Greenleaf, and Gretchen M. Jones
The purpose of this investigation was to explore the frequency and intensity of worries and fears associated with competitive gymnastics. These issues were initially examined in a sample of 7 female college gymnasts using a semistructured guided interview. From the themes that emerged and relevant literature, a survey including parallel intensity and frequency of worry questions was administered to 120 female gymnasts competing in USA Gymnastics sanctioned events. Results indicated that even though gymnasts worry about attempting and performing skills on the balance beam and uneven bars, more of them experienced a greater number of injuries on the floor exercise. Analysis of covariance for intensity and frequency using age as the covariate revealed that advanced gymnasts had more intense worries about body changes and performing skills and more frequent worries about body changes than less skilled gymnasts (p < .05). Advanced gymnasts also reported using more strategies to modify their worries than did less skilled gymnasts.
Psychosocial Mediators of the Fitness–Depression Relationship Within Adolescents
Shelly T. Sheinbein, Trent A. Petrie, Scott Martin, and Christy A. Greenleaf
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.
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.
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.
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.
Psychosocial Correlates of Disordered Eating Among Male Collegiate Athletes
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.
Slimming Down for Sport: Developing a Weight Pressures in Sport Measure for Female Athletes
Justine J. Reel, Sonya SooHoo, Trent A. Petrie, Christy Greenleaf, and Jennifer E. Carter
Previous research with female athletes has yielded equivocal findings when comparing disordered eating rates to nonathlete populations, but the rates differ for athletes in leanness and nonleanness sports (Sherman & Thompson, 2009). The purpose of the current study was to develop a measure to assess sport-specific weight pressures for female athletes. Secondly, this study identified frequencies of weight, size, and appearance pressures across sports. Participants (N =204) were female Division I athletes from three universities who represented 17 sports. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a 4-factor solution for the 16-item Weight Pressures in Sport for Females (WPS-F) scale with strong internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.90). The most frequently reported pressures among female college athletes were teammates (36.8%), uniform (34.3%), and coach (33.8%). These findings are discussed in comparison with previous research along with clinical and research implications for using the WPS-F in sport psychology settings.
Relations Between Sedentary Behavior and FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zone Achievement and Physical Activity
Jacob S. Tucker, Scott Martin, Allen W. Jackson, James R. Morrow Jr., Christy A. Greenleaf, and Trent A. Petrie
To investigate the relations between sedentary behaviors and health-related physical fitness and physical activity in middle school boys and girls.
Students (n = 1515) in grades 6–8 completed the Youth Risk Behavior Survey sedentary behavior questions, the FITNESSGRAM physical fitness items, and FITNESSGRAM physical activity self-report questions.
When students reported ≤ 2 hours per day of sedentary behaviors, their odds of achieving the FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zone for aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition increased. Similarly, the odds of achieving physical activity guidelines for children increased when students reported ≤ 2 hours per day of sedentary behaviors.
Results illustrate the importance of keeping sedentary behaviors to ≤ 2 hours per day in middle school children, thus increasing the odds that the student will achieve sufficient health-related fitness benefits and be more likely to achieve the national physical activity guidelines.