Eating psychopathology amongst athletes: Links to current attachment styles

Shanmugam, Vaithehy, Jowett, Sophia and Meyer, Caroline (2012) Eating psychopathology amongst athletes: Links to current attachment styles. Eating Behaviors, 13 (1). pp. 5-12. ISSN 1471-0153

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The aims of the study were two-fold; first to determine the associations between current attachment styles, and eating psychopathology amongst athletes, and second to simultaneously assess the mediating effects of self-esteem, perfectionism, and depression in this association. Four hundred and eleven British athletes completed self-report instruments pertaining to eating psychopathology, attachment styles, self-esteem, depression, and perfectionism. Athletes who scored highly on both avoidant and anxious attachment styles, reported elevated eating psychopathology scores. However, such associations were indirect and mediated via athletes' levels of self-esteem, self-critical perfectionism, and depression, with self-esteem and depression identified as more salient mediators than self-critical perfectionism. The current findings provide evidence to suggest that insecure attachment styles influence athletes' eating psychopathology via their impact on self-esteem, depression, and self-critical perfectionism. Moreover, self-esteem and depression may play more significant role in transferring the impact of insecure attachment styles on elevated eating psychopathology.

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