Eating disorder risk among female athletes: the influence of negative perfectionism, perceived pressure, and type of sport

Research has shown that females tend to suffer from eating disorders more than males and athletes more than non-athletes, but literature on the factors that put female athletes at risk is limited. The purpose of this study was to examine several possible risk factors for developing an eating disorder among female athletes: negative perfectionism, social pressure, and type of sport. It was hypothesized that negative perfectionism and social pressure would be positively correlated to eating disorder risk and that these relationships would be moderated by type of sport. Female collegiate athletes were used to examine these hypotheses. Results of multiple regression analyses indicated that eating disorder risk was positively correlated with both negative perfectionism and social pressure but the relationships were not moderated by type of sport. Results are discussed in terms of possible intervention strategies for coaches and parents. Keywords: eating disorders, female athletes, negative perfectionism, perceived pressure, sport type, social pressure