Disordered Eating and Body Image Among NCAA Division I and II Female Soccer Players
Received Date: August 24, 2020; Published Date: December 11, 2020
The main objective of this study was to develop an increased awareness regarding disordered eating symptoms among female athletes who participate in the “non-lean sport” of American soccer. This study focused on disordered eating, social physique anxiety as it is related to disordered eating among female athletes, and social pressures as well as women’s body image issues. Women collegiate NCAA Division I and II soccer players, both current and alumni, were invited to complete a demographic questionnaire, the Questionnaire for Eating Disorders Diagnosis (Q-EDD), and the ATHLETE Questionnaire. Results indicated that over 30% of the respondents were classified as eating disordered or symptomatic. Two of the participants earned scores that classified them as having eating disorders according to the DSM-IV-TR criteria. Another 16 women were found to be classified as symptomatic, and 39 of the participants were categorized as asymptomatic. Significant differences between symptomatic and asymptomatic respondents were obtained for three ATHLETE subscales: (a) Your Body and Sports, Drive for Thinness and Performance; (b) Feelings about Your Body, Social Pressure on Body Shape; and (c) Feelings about Eating, Social Pressure on Eating. While Division I and Division II players were compared, and current and alumni players were compared, as well, the significant finding was for Division I v. Division II on the Feelings about Being an Athlete, Athlete Identity subscale. Division II current players exhibited a significantly higher endorsement of the importance of being an athlete to their identity than did Division I current female players. The Q-EDD results were comparable to larger studies that examined only Division I female athletes. Trends were identified among Division I and II players that warrant further research. Some specific risk factors for female collegiate soccer players are discussed. Finally, alumni respondents also exhibited a significant incidence of symptoms of an eating disordered.
Keywords: Body Image; Eating Disorders; Female Soccer Players