Psychosocial correlates of disordered eating in female collegiate athletes: validation of the ATHLETE questionnaire

J Am Coll Health. 2005 Nov-Dec;54(3):149-56. doi: 10.3200/JACH.54.3.149-156.


Female athletes may be at greater risk for disordered eating than their nonathletic peers, but the psychological antecedents of this dysfunctional behavior in athletes have yet to be elucidated. The objective of this study was to develop an athletics-oriented measure of psychological predictors of disordered eating and to test its initial reliability and validity. Female athletes from 3 National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I universities completed the ATHLETE, a written questionnaire designed to assess psychosocial factors associated with disordered eating in athletes. Five distinct and internally consistent factors (Drive for Thinness and Performance, Social Pressure on Eating, Performance Perfectionism, Social Pressure on Body Shape, and Team Trust) were positively associated with and predictive of disordered eating behaviors in female athletes. The ATHLETE is a reliable and valid measure of psychological predictors of disordered eating in athletics and will be useful in studying the etiology of disordered eating in female athletes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Environment
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Universities