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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.

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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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Julie Freedman, Sally Hage, and Paula A. Quatromoni

Male athletes are underrepresented in eating disorders research. This phenomenological study investigated the experiences of male athletes who self-identified as having an eating disorder, disordered eating, or compulsive exercise behaviors. Eight male collegiate athletes were interviewed, and qualitative analysis identified factors associated with the onset and maintenance of disordered behaviors. Among the novel findings was the salient influence of social media as a driver of body dissatisfaction and disordered behaviors. The participants described a perceived sense of control and feeling of pride associated with the use of behaviors, cultural norms in a male sport environment that sustained these behaviors, and a shared belief that, until they experienced a loss of control over their use of behaviors, they would not likely ask for help or seek treatment. These findings have implications for additional research, as well as individual and systems-level strategies for the prevention, screening, and treatment of eating and exercise disorders in male sport.