Female collegiate athletes are a high-risk group for disordered eating. Petrie and Greenleaf's (2007) sociocultural model proposes that both general and sport-related weight pressures lead athletes to internalize unrealistic body ideals, ultimately resulting in body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. In this study, we used structural equation modeling to assess general and sport-specific weight pressures in relation to thin- and muscular-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating among 212 female Division I college athletes. General weight pressures from parents, peers, and the media were associated with disordered eating indirectly via thin- and muscular-ideal internalization. In contrast, sport-specific weight pressures were not associated with disordered eating in the full model. After controlling for weight pressures and body ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction was also not associated with disordered eating. These findings suggest that female athletes are vulnerable to weight- and appearance-related pressures from outside the sport context and that the mechanisms underlying the development of disordered eating may differ between athletes and non-athletes.
Body Image (Body image)
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