Eating Disorders in Sport

Trent A. Petrie and Christy Greenleaf

in The Oxford Handbook of Sport and Performance Psychology

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199731763
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Eating Disorders in Sport


This chapter describes eating disorders (EDs) among male and female athletes. Prevalence rates of clinical (i.e., anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and ED not otherwise specified) and subclinical EDs and related conditions (i.e., female athlete triad, muscle dysmorphia, exercise dependence) are presented, and factors within the sport environment associated with pathogenic eating and weight control behaviors, including performance demands, sport type, competitive level, and coach/parent/peer influences, are explained. As a framework for synthesizing previous research and theoretical conceptualizations, a sociocultural conceptual model of disordered eating for athletes is included. General sociocultural and sport-specific pressures are thought to be associated with internalization of body ideals, body dissatisfaction and drive for muscularity, negative affect and dietary restraint, and bulimic symptomatology. Research supporting the model is presented and suggestions for future research are offered. The chapter concludes with recommendations for prevention of problematic eating and weight control behaviors and issues regarding identification and treatment of EDs.

Keywords: Male and female athletes; body image; drive for muscularity; eating disorders; sociocultural pressures; interventions; prevention

Article.  18565 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

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