Weigh-in Environment and Weight Intentionality and Management of Female Collegiate Athletes

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Research suggests that female athletes, in particular, experience “sport-environment” pressures such as: weight, performance, and body image demands from their coaches, teammates, and judges. These influences in tandem with society’s portrayal of the thin ideal are thought to considerably increase the risk of developing disordered eating problems in this population. Although numerous studies have been conducted over the past decade on the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors among female athletes, few have examined in detail the weight pressures that exist within the sport environment, such as whether or not (and how often) athletes are weighed by ... continued below

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iv, 60 pages

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Tackett, Bailey December 2015.

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  • Tackett, Bailey

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Research suggests that female athletes, in particular, experience “sport-environment” pressures such as: weight, performance, and body image demands from their coaches, teammates, and judges. These influences in tandem with society’s portrayal of the thin ideal are thought to considerably increase the risk of developing disordered eating problems in this population. Although numerous studies have been conducted over the past decade on the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors among female athletes, few have examined in detail the weight pressures that exist within the sport environment, such as whether or not (and how often) athletes are weighed by their coaches, and how athletes respond to those pressures in terms of weight management practices. In the proposed study, we will examine the weigh-in environment, weight satisfaction, weight management practices, menstrual health, and reported source of nutritional guidance. The sample includes 414 NCAA Division I female collegiate swimmers/divers and gymnasts drawn from 26 universities across the U.S. Participants anonymously completed a series of questionnaires as part of a larger study on student-athlete health and well-being. This study found that 41% of athletes were weighed, and most often by an athletic trainer in private. Despite most weigh-ins were reportedly conducted in a positive manner, the majority of the athletes who were weighed (75%) reported using at least one strategy to manage their weight prior to weigh-ins (e.g. restrict food, increase exercise). Athletes desire to lose weight, caloric intake, and menstrual cycles were not related to whether athletes were or were not weighed. The majority of athletes received qualified nutritional guidance about how to healthfully manage their weight. Overall, weighing is occurring in a more positive manner than expected; however, athletes are continuing to report using unhealthy weight management strategies at a high rate. It seems important for athletic departments to set policies regarding weighing and to continue to provide support and education to coaching and support staff regarding eating disorder identification, referral, and treatment.

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iv, 60 pages

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • December 2015

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 20, 2016, 10:34 a.m.

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  • May 24, 2017, 3:13 p.m.

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Tackett, Bailey. Weigh-in Environment and Weight Intentionality and Management of Female Collegiate Athletes, thesis, December 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822846/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .