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Justine J. Reel and Emily Crouch

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Justine J. Reel and Diane L. Gill

College cheerleaders (73 females and 51 males) participated in the current study on eating disorders and weight-related concerns within cheerleading. The participants completed the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS), and CHEER, a measure of weight-related stressors within cheerleading. Significant gender differences were identified through a one-way MANOVA with these measures. As expected, female cheerleaders reported more weight-related concerns and had higher scores on SPAS, EDI Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction than did male cheerleaders. Both males and females reported weight-related concerns, although the actual stressors were different. Based upon these data, we suggest that males, as well as females, face unique pressures in cheerleading related to body weight.

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Justine J. Reel and Robert A. Bucciere

According to stigma theory, individuals with disabilities possess “discrediting attributes” that prevent them from meeting culturally constructed standards of beauty. An individual with a disability may find that his or her body is viewed as being somehow defective, deviant, or grotesque. Persons with disabilities feel that they are unable to achieve the societal ideal and that their masculinity or femininity may be questioned (Bucciere & Reel, 2009). As a result, individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities face a decreased sense of self worth, poor body image, and in some cases may be vulnerable to eating disorders.

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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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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

In this study, the authors examined female competitive figure skaters’ experiences of weight pressure in sport. Perceptions of the ideal skating body; sources of weight pressure; ways that body image, weight-management behaviors, and athletic performance have been affected; and recommendations for improving body image were explored. Aligning with a social constructivist view (Creswell, 2014), data were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Skaters described the ideal skating body in an inflexible fashion with little room for deviation and acceptance of body diversity. Skaters cited their first weightpressure experience between 7 and 14 years of age, which most notably involved coaches, parents, skating partners, and other aspects of the skating culture. These experiences were characterized as promoting body-image concerns, unhealthy weight-management strategies, and interference with the psychological aspects of on-ice performance. Results from this study demonstrate the need to construct and maintain body-positive skating environments.

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Justine J. Reel and Diane L. Gill

Seventy-three college female and 84 high school female cheerleaders participated in the current study on eating disorders and pressures within cheerleading. The participants completed the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS), and CHEER, a measure developed by the authors to identify pressures within cheerleading. A one-way MANOVA indicated significant differences between high school and college cheerleaders on CHEER and SPAS. Correlational analyses revealed a strong relation between SPAS, body dissatisfaction scores, and eating behavior, suggesting that body image is an important predictor for eating disorders in cheerleaders. Moreover, although high school cheerleaders reported fewer pressures than their college counterparts, they exhibited greater body dissatisfaction and disordered eating patterns.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

Figure skaters experience pressure associated with their sport to change their body weight, shape, or size to meet appearance and performance expectations. Figure skaters may experience different body-related expectations based on gender despite performing in identical or similar training and competition environments. In a qualitative investigation that examined body pressure experiences of male skaters, participants discussed some of their struggles, but seemed compelled to discuss, unexpectedly, the plight of female skaters in facing the skating body ideal. The present findings represent an exploratory analysis of qualitative data elucidating the body pressure experiences of female skaters through the eyes of male skaters. Participants were 13 competitive male figure skaters ages 16–24 (M = 18.53). Analyzed using a social constructivist and critical perspective, the results demonstrated the salience of body pressures for female skaters and afforded insight into sociocultural and historical factors that influence how male and female skaters experience their bodies differently in a skating context. Male skaters reported they faced less extreme body pressures, had certain physical advantages, and tended to be more confident than female skaters, which underscored a gendered body pressure experience. This work explores the intersections of gender and power within figure skating and examines body image concerns and unhealthy eating and exercise behaviors as a larger social justice issue that serves to encourage similar investigations in other sports.

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Carrie B. Scherzer and Justine J. Reel

In this commentary, we try to present a balanced look at the issues surrounding the implementation of the certification exam for recertification purposes. We recognize that the changes to certification are complex and varied, as were reactions by the membership of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). As long-standing AASP members who are also certified consultants, we look at the costs, benefits, and ultimately the reality of the CMPC exam for recertification.