Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Trevor Roiger


depression, eating disorder, social pressure, stress, weight satisfaction


CONTEXT: Eating disorders represent a significant concern across multiple populations including collegiate athletes. Risk factors for eating disorders may be amplified in athletes because of internal and external performance and image expectations. Little is known about how these risk factors change over time in collegiate student-athletes.
OBJECTIVE: To longitudinally examine select eating disorder risk factors in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I student-athletes.
DESIGN: Descriptive longitudinal study.
SETTING: NCAA Division I collegiate athletics.
PARTICIPANTS: Retired Division I collegiate athletes (n=204), ages 18-22, who competed in football, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, baseball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women's cross-country, golf, equestrian, tennis, wrestling, men’s and women's swimming, men’s and women's basketball, and softball.
INTERVENTION(S): All participants completed an annual medical history questionnaire comprised of health information recommended by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and NCAA.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Medical health history data was retrospectively analyzed to determine longitudinal changes in mental health, body weight satisfaction, and social pressure to change weight. The association between these risk factors and self-reported eating disorders was also examined.
RESULTS: Participants were more likely to feel stressed or under pressure their sophomore year compared to their freshman year. Females were more likely to feel stressed than males. Males were less likely to be satisfied with their body weight and more likely to change weight, receive a recommendation to change body weight or eating habits, and have a target weight set. There was no association between body weight satisfaction, mental health, or social pressure to change weight and self-reported eating disorders.
CONCLUSIONS: Eating disorder risk factors including body weight satisfaction, mental health dysfunction, and social pressure to change weight affect males and females differently and can vary based on year in school. Coaches and athlete support personnel should be educated on the nature and longitudinal trajectory of eating disorder risk factors as well as signs of unhealthy behaviors. Clinicians should continue to investigate self-reporting eating disorders and validated measurement tools to provide accurate information relative to eating disorders.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Eating disorders.
College athletes -- Health risk assessment.
College sports -- Psychological aspects.
National Collegiate Athletic Association. Division I.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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