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The purpose of this study was to investigate athletic participation and the development of disordered eating behaviors in women by comparing collegiate varsity athletes and the general university population on three variables: disordered eating behaviors and the associated psychological variables of body satisfaction and self-esteem. Further, possible differences between athletes who participate in sports in which a lean figure is conducive to success and sports in which a lean figure is not conducive to success were also investigated for these three variables. As disordered eating includes many types of behavior, a disordered eating continuum was used to illustrate. Three existing inventories designed to measure eating behaviors, body satisfaction, and self-esteem, respectively, were distributed to college women at a Division I university in the southeastern United States. Chi-square analysis and analysis of variance were used to evaluate the collected data. The results indicated that athletes in this study did not report eating behaviors that were significantly different than the non-athletes, nor were there differences between the "lean" sport athletes and the "nonlean" sport athletes. On the variables of body satisfaction and self-esteem, there was no difference between the athletes and non-athletes in terms of self-esteem, however athletes reported significantly more satisfaction with their bodies. In comparing the "lean" sport athletes and "nonlean" sport athletes, there were no significant differences on the variables of body satisfaction and self-esteem. Finally, there was a significant difference between the body satisfaction and self-esteem scores of the "eating disordered" and "non eating disordered" groups; those who did report eating disordered behaviors had less body satisfaction and more self-esteem than those that did not.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
David Pargman, Professor Directing Thesis; Akihito Kamata, Committee Member; David Quadagno, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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