Exploring the sociocultural pathway model as it predicts body satisfaction in athletes and nonathletes

Sarah Howes-Masnik, University of Rhode Island


This study was a secondary data analysis in which the sociocultural pathway model (Stice & Agras, 1998) was tested in male and female athletes and nonathletes. There were three primary purposes for this study. The first aim was to test the applicability of the sociocultural model theory in the current sample by conducting confirmatory factor analyses on the measurement constructs. The second aim was to create a structural equation model that fit the data best according to theoretical directionality of the constructs in the sociocultural theory. The third aim was to compare the predictive paths of this model across sexes and athlete subgroups. The sample (N=543) was composed of competitive athletes (n=56), recreational athletes (n=192), and non-athletes (n=294) who completed an online questionnaire measuring the major components of the sociocultural pathway model. Construct means were examined in nonathletes and athletes of both sexes using two-way multivariate analysis of variance, follow-up two-way analyses of variance, and post-hoc Tukey HSD tests. Confirmatory factor analyses were run on the original factor structures of each construct and found model fit to be poor. Measures were revised, cutting poorly loading items and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on revised measures, finding model fit to be adequate. A structural equation model predicting body satisfaction from the internalization of thin ideals, negative affect, positive affect, and perfectionism had low-adequate fit in the sample. Comparisons of the predictive model revealed that the model fit to be adequate across group. Findings suggest the field is in need of improved operational definitions and more psychometrically sound measures of body satisfaction. Attention to measurement of other constructs of the sociocultural pathway model is also warranted. Future research should examine measurement structures and invariance across a range of minority groups, as well as longitudinal models to test and expand the applicability of this model of eating disorders prevention.

Subject Area

Public health|Kinesiology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Sarah Howes-Masnik, "Exploring the sociocultural pathway model as it predicts body satisfaction in athletes and nonathletes" (2015). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3689106.