An Examination of Differences in Food Choices and Attitudes Towards Appearance in Individual and Team Sport Collegiate Athletes

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jamie Shapiro

Second Advisor

Ian Palombo


Food choices, Attitudes towards appearance, Athletes competing in team sports, Individual sports


The purpose of this study was to identify how food choices and attitudes towards appearance differ for athletes competing in team sports and in individual sports. Previous research (Polivy & Herman, 2002) has shown that athletes competing in sports where a lean body is emphasized, where outcome of performance is decided by judges, or in aesthetic sports are at a higher risk for developing eating disorders compared to athletes in non-lean sports, refereed sports, or non-aesthetic sports.Notably, judged and aesthetic sports are almost exclusively individual sports, yet there is a lack of research directly comparing empirically validated risk factors for eating disorders, such as attitudes towards appearance and food choice (Ghaderi & Scott, 2001), for individual sports and team sports.The two instruments used in this study were The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ; Steptoe, Pollard, & Wardle, 1995) and the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Scale (SATAQ-4; Thompson, Van den Berg, Roehrig, Guarda, & Heinber, 2004). The variables that were measured were: internalization of thin/low body fat, internalization of muscular/athletic body type, family pressure, peer pressure, media pressure, and the nine factors that affected food choices. Participants included 49 team and individual sport athletes from Division I, II, and III schools in the United States. The results indicated that the athletes' responses on the FCQ and SATAQ-4 were not significantly different in team and individual sports. Results are discussed in the context of previous literature as well as theoretical, research, and practical implications.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


43 pages

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