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Jessyca N. Arthur-Cameselle and Paula A. Quatromoni

The purpose of this study was to characterize recovery experiences of female collegiate athletes who have suffered from eating disorders. Participants were 16 collegiate female athletes who experienced recovery from an eating disorder. Participants told their recovery stories in semistructured interviews regarding factors that initiated, assisted, and hindered recovery. The most common turning point to initiate recovery was experiencing negative consequences from the eating disorder. Factors that most frequently assisted recovery included making cognitive and behavioral changes, supportive relationships, and seeking professional care. Hindering factors most commonly included lack of support from others, professional care complaints, and spending time with others with eating disorders. Results suggested that unique features of the sport environment, including coaches’ behavior and team norms, introduce either positive or negative influences on athletes as they work to recover from an eating disorder. Based on these findings, specific treatment and prevention recommendations for athletes are discussed.

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Jessyca N. Arthur-Cameselle and Paula A. Quatromoni

The purpose of this study was to identify factors related to the onset of eating disorders in female athletes. Participants were 17 collegiate female athletes (mean age of 20.7) who experienced eating disorders. Participants were interviewed individually and responses were coded thematically. Results revealed internal and external factors related to the onset of eating disorders. Internal factors included: Negative Mood States, Low Self Esteem, Perfectionism/Drive for Achievement, and Desire for Control. External factors included: Negative Influences on Self-Esteem, Hurtful Relationships, Hurtful Role Models, and Sport Performance. Findings suggest that many triggers for onset among athletes are similar to those reported among nonathletes. However, results demonstrate that the sport environment has a unique impact on athletes’ eating disorder development. In particular, negative comments by coaches, modeling of eating disordered behaviors by other athletes, and sport performance pressure all contributed to eating pathology. Implications and recommendations for the sport community are discussed.