This study extended the examination of the eating disorders continuum to the population of female athletes. Participants (215 collegiate gymnasts) were classified as normal/nondisordered eaters, exercisers, bingers, dieter/restricters, subthreshold bulimics, or bulimics and were then compared on several personality and attitudinal measures. Results revealed that (a) over 60% of the gymnasts met the criteria for one of the intermediate disordered eating categories, (b) only 22% reported eating behaviors that could be classified as normal or nondisordered, and (c) higher levels of disordered eating disturbance, particularly bulimia nervosa, were associated with a desire to weigh less, lower body satisfaction, lower self-esteem, and greater endorsement of sociocultural values regarding women's attractiveness. The findings provide partial support for the eating continuum in female athletes, and suggest that disordered eating may be the normative behavior in this population. Implications for interventions as well as directions for future research are provided.
Trent A. Petrie
This study prospectively investigated the effects of life stress, psychological coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, and playing status (starter vs. non-starter) on injury in 158 NCAA Division I-A collegiate football players. Playing status moderated the influence of the psychosocial variables as predictors of athletic injury. For starters positive life stress, coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety accounted for 60% of the injury variance. In addition, competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that increases in these variables were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury. No relationship between any of the psychosocial variables and injury emerged for nonstarters. Implications for future research are discussed with respect to the Andersen and Williams (1988) theoretical model.
Joey Ramaeker and Trent A. Petrie
We explored athletic trainers’ (ATs) beliefs regarding the roles of fellow ATs and sport psychologists (SPs) when working with athletes, and assessed where ATs’ typically refer athletes with psychological concerns. ATs’ beliefs and referral preferences across three hypothetical sport performance scenarios also were evaluated. ATs viewed aiding athletes’ psychological recovery from injury as their most acceptable role followed by teaching mental skills and counseling regarding personal issues. ATs rated SPs’ roles similarly. Regarding the scenarios, ATs were most likely to refer to a SP when performance was affected by mental factors. Considering performance difficulties attributed to interpersonal concerns, ATs were most likely to refer to a counselor. When recovering from physical injury, ATs viewed referring to a sport psychologist and assisting on their own as equally viable options. ATs’ views regarding their roles and referral preferences likely reflect educational and clinical experiences. Collaboration between athletic training and sport psychology professional organizations and individual professionals is warranted to enhance athlete care.
Laura D. DiPasquale and Trent A. Petrie
Eating disorder prevalence rates among athletes vary greatly because of the different ways in which researchers have measured and classified them, and the extent to which they are higher than those found among nonathletes remains unresolved. The present study examined prevalence of eating disorders, body image issues, and weight control behaviors using a valid diagnostic measure. Participants included 146 male and 156 female NCAA Division I student-athletes and a matched sample of 170 male and 353 female collegiate nonathletes. Overall, eating disorder prevalence rates and use of pathogenic weight control behaviors were lower among nonathletes than athletes. Rates for athletes in the current study were lower than previous studies. These findings are likely due to the lack of anonymity the athletes had when completing questionnaires, as data were collected through athletes’ preseason physicals, whereas nonathletes completed questionnaires anonymously over the Internet. Recommendations for athletic departments’ screening for eating disorders are made.
Courtney B. Albinson and Trent A. Petrie
To examine the relationships among preinjury and postinjury stress, coping, personality, mood state, and rehabilitation adherence.
Participants completed measures of preinjury life-event stress, social-support satisfaction, dispositional optimism, and mood state. Injured athletes completed postinjury measures of mood state, coping methods, and cognitive appraisals of stress and coping ability 1, 4, 7, 14, and 28 days postinjury. Their athletic trainer completed a measure of rehabilitation adherence on those days.
84 college football players including 19 injured athletes.
Negative-life-event stress predicted postinjury mood disturbance, which was positively related with appraisals. Appraisals were related to greater avoidance coping at day 7, greater active behavioral coping at days 14 and 28, and less active cognitive coping at day 28. Active behavioral coping was associated with greater mood disturbance, and active cognitive coping and avoidance coping were inversely related.
Results support cognitive-appraisal models of sport injury and dynamic views of coping with injury.
Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu and Trent A. Petrie
Time and access to teams may be limited for sport psychology professionals, particularly those working in the college sport setting. Thus, learning how to intervene with teams and individual athletes within short, defined timeframes becomes essential for working effectively in this environment. In this article, using de Shazer’s solution-focused brief therapy along with Weinberg and Williams’s steps of psychological skills training, the authors describe the development and implementation of a brief intervention under time-limited circumstances (15 days, 15 min/day) through a preseason training program with a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s volleyball team. Then, they present data and evaluations based on the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 and athlete feedback, which support program effectiveness. They further reflect on the program strengths (e.g., individualization) and challenges (e.g., limited coach involvement) to provide recommendations for intervening briefly, yet systematically and effectively, to maximize athletes’ psychological skills under constraints.
Trent A. Petrie and C. Edward Watkins Jr.
As the field of sport psychology has evolved and become more focused on applied/practitioner issues, the need for interdisciplinary training has been noted. Little information exists, however, concerning the acceptability of sport psychology training in applied psychology programs. Thus, 41 counseling psychology programs and 41 exercise/sport science departments (matched pairs) were surveyed to determine their relative attitudes toward sport psychology research, training, and current professional issues. The exercise/sport science departments were found to offer more courses in sport psychology and to have more faculty and students interested in sport research. Over 70% of the counseling psychology programs, however, had students with sport psychology interests. In addition, the two academic areas reported equally high levels of acceptance concerning their graduate students pursuing sport psychology research and training. Mechanisms for promoting interdisciplinary training in sport psychology are discussed.
Karen D. Cogan and Trent A. Petrie
Applied sport consultants continue to offer intervention programs to athletes; however, research determining the efficacy of such programs has been lacking. This paper (a) briefly describes a season-long, multidimensional sport psychology intervention with a collegiate women’s gymnastics team, and (b) presents the results of the evaluation, examining the effectiveness of the program in reducing competitive state anxiety and increasing team cohesion, the two areas of evaluative focus. Results indicate that the intervention gymnasts had higher levels of social cohesion during the initial part of the competitive season than did control gymnasts. In addition, the intervention gymnasts reported decreases in cognitive and somatic levels from the end of the preseason through the middle of the competitive season. Findings are presented in relation to qualitative feedback provided by the coaches and gymnasts. Directions for future research and the intervention team’s evaluation of the program also are discussed.
Stephanie L. Barrett and Trent A. Petrie
Although researchers have examined eating disorders in female athletes, few such studies have been done with athletes who are retired, and even fewer have been quantitative. Thus, the authors empirically tested an established eating disorder theoretical model with 218 former NCAA Division-I female collegiate athletes who had been retired for 2–6 years. In retirement, participants completed measures of general sociocultural pressures related to body and appearance, thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, negative affect, and bulimic symptomatology. Through structural equation modeling, the authors examined the direct and indirect relationships among the latent variables while controlling for body mass index and years since retirement. The model fit the data well, supporting the hypothesized direct and indirect relationships among the variables and explaining 54% of the variance in bulimic symptomatology. Despite no longer being exposed to sport pressures that contribute to eating disorders, female athletes experience such symptoms long into retirement.
Justine Chatterton, Trent A. Petrie, Keke L. Schuler, and Camilo Ruggero
We tested Petrie and Greenleaf’s psychosocial model in relation to male athletes’ bulimic symptomatology. Through structural equation modeling, we cross-sectionally examined the direct and indirect effects of general and sport-specific appearance pressures, internalization, body satisfaction, drive for muscularity, negative affect, and dietary restraint on bulimic symptomatology. Participants were U.S. male collegiate athletes (N = 698; M age = 19.87 years) representing 17 sports. With minor respecifications, the model had acceptable fit, and the psychosocial variables explained 48% of the bulimic symptomatology variance. Although all variable paths were significant, sport pressures, such as from coaches and teammates about weight, importance of appearance, and looking good in a uniform, were the most salient latent variable. Athletes’ engagement in muscle-building behaviors added uniquely and substantively as well. Our analysis begins to clarify the complex interactions among these psychosocial variables in understanding male athletes’ bulimic symptomatology and provides a base from which to develop prevention programming.