Eating Behaviors, Motivations for Exercise, and Attitudes About Weight Among Collegiate Athletes

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

Mary Pritchard



Different sports require unique perspectives, ideals, and mentalities in order to have success in their respective sport. For example, it could be advantageous for a gymnast to maintain a low body fat percentage, while a football player may be trying to gain additional weight. These different approaches influence attitudes about eating behaviors, and exercise motivations.

Studies abound on the prevalence of eating disorders amongst female student athletes (e.g., McLester et al., 2014), especially female athletes who participate in sports where leanness is emphasized (Hulley et al., 2007). However, less is known about the prevalence of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in male athletes in sports where leanness is emphasized. The current study is aimed at evaluating both male and female collegiate athletes in a variety of different sports, both leanness focused and non-leanness focused sports.

The goal of the study is to identify the differences between the eating behaviors and exercise motivations between sports. Athlete’s attitudes towards exercise and eating vary between sport because each sport has specific goals and ideals. In research studies sports are often categorized into two group, leanness focused and non leanness focused. Little research has been done examining the differences on a sport by sport basis rather than just a leanness vs. non-leanness basis. The purpose of the present study is to examine the differences in individual sports by not just comparing leanness sports to non-leanness sports but by looking at leanness sports (e.g. wrestling, cross country) and comparing them to each other, in an effort to understand


Data collection is currently underway. The research team has recruited collegiate athletes and asked them to participate via email and FaceBook. The participants will complete a survey consisting of the eating attitudes test (EAT-26; Garner et al., 1982), motivations of marathoners scales (MOMS; Masters, 1993), the eating motivations survey (TEMS; Renner et al., 2012), and drive for muscularity (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). We expect to collect data from 300 collegiate athletes. Data collection will be completed by the end of February.

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