Personality and Psychological Correlates of Disordered Eating in Male Collegiate Athletes

Nick Galli, University of Utah, USA

Theme: Exercise and health behaviors

Poster Number: 109

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Recent research has revealed that many men experience body image concerns and engage in unhealthy body change strategies (e.g., Peltzer & Pengpid, 2012), and that male athletes are a sub-population that may be particularly at-risk for disordered eating. The results of a prior study suggested that psychological well-being, reasons for exercise, and appearance orientation may be predictors of eating disorder classification for female athletes (Petrie, Greenleaf, Reel, & Carter, 2009). However, little is known about such potential risk factors among male athletes. In this study, a national sample of 203 male collegiate athletes representing a variety of sports completed the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnoses as well as measures of psychological well-being (e.g., self-esteem), reasons for exercising (e.g., appearance and attractiveness), appearance orientation, and perfectionism (e.g., concern over mistakes). Using logistic regression, the athletes classified as asymptomatic for an eating disorder (n = 164) were compared to those who were asymptomatic (n = 39) to examine which personality factors best determine group membership. In contrast to what has been reported for female athletes and non-athletes, the psychological and personality variables failed to differentiate between the symptomatic and asymptomatic male athletes. Thus, the variables tested in this study may be less important in the development of disordered eating for male athletes than they are for female athletes. Perhaps disordered eating in collegiate male athletes is more a function of pressures from the sport environment to alter body appearance and performance than it is a function of internal personality characteristics. Because few studies have examined psychosocial correlates of eating disorders within samples of male athletes, future research will need to test other potential risk factors, such as goal orientation, pressures regarding weight, internalization of societal ideals, body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, and dietary intent.

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