Differences Between Male and Female Division III Athletes in Eating Attitudes, Body Perception, and Reason for Exercise

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Hague, Christopher
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Scholarship Sewanee 2010 , Department of Psychology, University of the South , Athletes , Eating Disorders , Body Image
With the continual focus on achievement and large training volumes, researchers have labeled collegiate athletes as a high risk group for eating disorders. Most research to date, however, has centered solely on female athletes from Division I schools, neglecting other levels of competition and males. Since both of these factors may influence eating disordered psychopathology and behaviors, the purpose of this study is to see if eating disorder pathology does occur in Division III athletes and whether there is a difference between males and females in these etiological factors. 78 male and 88 female (n=166 ) D-III athletes completed a survey evaluating psychological predictors of eating disorders (ATHLETE questionnaire), personality types associated with eating disorders, and reasons for exercises (REI scale). Results show that there was a significant difference between males and females on several eating disorder etiological factors and reasons for exercise. Psychological, etiological factors of eating disorders do seem to appear in Division III athletes with males and females differing in how they show them. Social, cultural, and psychological reasons are discussed as possible explanations for these findings.