The effects of social relationships and acceptance on disturbed eating attitudes in elite adolescent female athletes: The mediating role of physical self-perceptions

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Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of social relationships (i.e., coach, friends, and parents) and acceptance (i.e., peers) on disturbed eating attitudes (DEAs) in elite adolescent female athletes, through the mediating role of physical self-perception (i.e., perceived physical appearance and perceived physical ability).

Method:

The sample comprised 227 elite adolescent female athletes (Mage = 15.75; SDage = 3.00) engaged in various esthetic sports. The data was analyzed using structural equation modeling method and mediation analysis.

Results:

They showed that peer acceptance and quality of parent–athlete relationships have a significant negative influence on DEA in elite adolescent female athletes. Moreover, the quality of relationship with the coach and sport friend has a significant positive influence on DEA in female athletes through the mediating role of perceived physical ability.

Discussion:

The quality of relationship with parents and peer acceptance would be a protective factor regarding DEA, whereas the quality of relationships with coach and friend in sport would be risk factors for the development of DEA in adolescent female athletes through the mediating role of perceived physical ability. Recommendations for future use of, and research on, activities are outlined. The effects of social relationships and acceptance on DEA in elite adolescent female athletes: the mediating role of physical self-perceptions. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010.

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