Date of Award
Master of Science in Kinesiology
The purpose of the study was to examine factors that may contribute to disordered eating in men and women collegiate track and field athletes. A total of 73 eligible, full-time current NCAA track and field student-athletes completed a single survey sent out via email. Analyses conducted included a 2X5 MANOVA assessing the independent variables of biological sex (k=2; male and female) and track and field event group (k=5; throwers, short sprinters, middle distance runners, long distance runners, and jumpers/multi-event athletes) on the dependent variables of scores on the sociocultural attitudes towards appearance (SATAQ-4) subscales of pressures from families, peers, and media, internalization of thin body ideals, and internalization of athletic body ideals, the female body checking questionnaire (BCQ) and male version (mBCQ), self-derived Weighing Frequency and Attitudes, and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Additionally, three hierarchical linear regressions focused on predicting disordered eating with scores on the EAT-26 with the total, male, and female sample of track and field athletes using the aforementioned variables. The results showed a significant multivariate main effect of sex (F(9, 54)=6.303, p<0.05, Wilk’s L= 0.488, h2=0.512) and event group (F(36, 204)=1.541, p=0.034, Wilk’s L= 0.406, h2=0.202); however, their interaction was not significant (p=0.189). There was a significant main effect of sex on the SATAQ-4 media subscale (F(1, 285.800)=14.997, p<0.05, h2=0.195), the Body Checking Questionnaire (F(1, 1576.492)=14.709, p<0.05, h2=0.192), and the EAT-26 (F(1, 343.032)=4.150, p = 0.046, h2=0.063), showed that female track athletes scored significantly higher on pressures from media, body checking behavior, and disordered eating than male track and field athletes, regardless of the event type. Significant main effects for the SATAQ-4 family subscale (F(4, 43.11)=3.624, p=0.010, h2=0.189), the BCQ (F(4, 323.445)=3.018, h2=0.024), the mBCQ (F(4, 474.321)=3.088, p=0.022, h2=0.166), and the Body Weighing Frequency and Attitudes section (F(4, 31.908)=2.796, p=0.034, h2=0.153) were found with throwers reporting higher pressures from family, body checking behaviors, and body weighing frequency and attitudes compared to other events, namely middle distance athletes, regardless of gender. In predicting disordered eating in collegiate track and field and cross-country athletes, body checking (BCQ) explained the most variance with scores on the EAT-26 for males adjusted (R2=0.691). For females, the addition of the SATAQ-4 peers subscale predictor resulted in a statistically significant adjusted R2 change (F(1, 22) = 5.069, p = 0.035), suggesting that peer pressures may moderate prediction of eating behavior when controlling for body checking behaviors, weighing frequency and attitudes, male body checking behaviors, and SATAQ-4 subscales of media and family. Overall, the findings may assist athletic trainers, team physicians, and dietitians on screening, identifying, and tracking the factors associated with disordered eating with collegiate track and field athletes, thereby enabling early intervention before the development of severe disordered eating behaviors or a diagnosable eating disorder.
Cirella, Stephen M. Jr., "HEALTH PERCEPTIONS OF NCAA STUDENT-ATHLETES" (2023). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 2301.
Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025