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A Test of an Etiological Model: Disordered Eating in Male Collegiate Athletes

Description: Athletes may be at increased risk for developing disordered eating and pathogenic weight control behaviors due to pressure for their bodies to look a certain way and perform at a high level (Sundgot-Borgen & Torstveit, 2004). Petrie and Greenleaf (2013) proposed a psychosocial model to explain the development of athletes’ disordered eating behaviors. Specifically, they suggested that unique weight/body pressures of the sport environment, general societal pressures about attractiveness, internalization of societal appearance ideals, body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, negative affect, and dietary restraint combine and contribute to the development of bulimic symptomatology. The aim of the current study is to test the Petrie and Greenleaf model in a large, nation-wide, diverse sample of male collegiate athletes. Participants were male collegiate athletes (N = 731; Mage = 19.91, SD = 1.50) representing 17 sports and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Divisions I, II, and III. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and measures designed to assess their experiences of the above constructs. Structural equation modeling was used to test the pathways proposed in the Petrie and Greenleaf (2013) etiological model. Results suggest that sport pressures, such as those from coaches and teammates about weight, the importance of appearance, and looking good in a uniform, are significant factors in understanding disordered eating among male collegiate athletes. These pressures were related directly to all other variables in the model, including increased body dissatisfaction, experiencing more negative emotions, restricting caloric intake, and engaging in behaviors to increase muscularity. In the end, it was these variables – negative affect, drive for muscularity, dietary restraint, and body dissatisfaction– that explained over 30% of the variance in the athletes’ bulimic symptomatology.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Chatterton, Justine M.
Partner: UNT Libraries