Systematic review of risk factors for eating psychopathology in athletes: A critique of an etiological model.
About this resource
OBJECTIVE: The theoretical model by Petrie and Greenleaf (2007, 2012) is an admirable attempt to collate the causal factors of disordered eating in athletes. The aims of this systematic review are (a) to provide an overview of the findings from the relevant literature, (b) to assess whether the model is supported by the existing research, (c) to evaluate the different designs, methods, and measures used to test the mediators in the model, and (d) to highlight areas for improvements and future research. METHOD: A systematic review of four major online databases identified 37 relevant papers on risk factors of disordered eating in athletes, which were reviewed and critically compared with the theoretical model. RESULTS: There is a lack of longitudinal research with the relevant mediators in athlete populations, which makes it difficult to determine whether the potential mediators described by Petrie and Greenleaf are causal risk factors rather than simply correlates of disordered eating for athletes. Findings for all the potential mediators are inconsistent, and the range of measures used makes it problematic to draw conclusions. CONCLUSIONS: Future research needs to use gold standard measures and longitudinal designs in order to fully test and possibly update the model.
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