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Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett, and Caroline Meyer

In the current study, we had two aims. First, we investigated the associations between eating psychopathology, situational interpersonal difficulties, and dispositional interpersonal difficulties among athletes and nonathletes. Second, we examined the mediating role of self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, and depression in these associations. A total of 152 athletes and 147 nonathletes completed self-report instruments pertaining to relationship quality with significant others, as well as social anxiety, loneliness, self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, depression, and eating psychopathology. Social anxiety and loneliness were found to be the only significant independent predictors of eating psychopathology among both athletes and nonathletes. However, such associations were indirectly mediated through depression for athletes and through self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, and depression for nonathletes. The findings of this study suggest that the psychosocial mechanisms involved in the eating psychopathology of athletes are relatively similar to that of nonathletes. Thus, it can be tentatively proposed that treatments and interventions that target reducing interpersonal conflicts currently available for the general population should also be offered to athletes.

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Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett, and Caroline Meyer

The purpose of this study was twofold: to explore the utility of components related to the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model of eating disorders within an athletic population and to investigate the extent to which the model can be applied across gender, sport type, and performance standard to explain eating psychopathology. Five hundred and eighty-eight (N = 588) male and female British athletes completed a battery of self-report instruments related to eating psychopathology, interpersonal diffculties, perfectionism, self-esteem, and mood. Structural equation modeling revealed that eating psychopathology may arise from an interaction of interpersonal diffculties, low self-esteem, high levels of self-critical perfectionism, and depressive symptoms. Analysis further highlighted that the manner in which eating psychopathology may arise is invariant across athletes’ sport type and performance standard, but not across gender. The current findings suggest that the tested components of the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model are pertinent and useful in explaining eating psychopathology among athletes.