1998 Volume 43 Issue 3-4 Pages 150-163
This study was conducted to identify the eating patterns of athletes and then to examine body image characteristics in relation to these patterns. One hundred and seventy-one male athletes and 241 female athletes specializing in various sports completed a questionnaire concerning food intake patterns, use of satiation cues, current and the most ideal body size, and attitudes toward their body. Using cluster analysis, this study identified five types of eating pattems among the athletes. Of the five clusters, three represented mild forms of disordered eating and two could be considered to represent more regulated eating styles. The body image characteristics for each eating pattern can be summarized as follows: 1)The two regulated eating groups, well-controlled dieters and uninhibited eaters, had similar body image characteristics(e.g.no difference between current and ideal figure estimation for males, thinner figure estimation in current body size for females, and a more positive attitude toward the body for both sexes). 2)Severe restraint eaters and deregulated dieters among male athletes had a significantly thinner ideal image than the current body, whereas all female eating groups had a thinner ideal image. 3)Male and female impulsive eaters who had a tendency toward bulimia showed more negative attitudes to their body. Female impulsive eaters also tended to overestimate their current body size. These results indicate that a positive body image in athletes is strongly related to stable eating behavior regardless of sex or participating sport.