DOI: 10.1177/00957984231186505 ISSN: 0095-7984

Body Satisfaction and Disordered Eating Among Black Women Student Athletes: An Examination of Resilience, Self-Compassion, and Social Support

Martinque K. Jones, Trent Petrie,
  • Applied Psychology
  • Anthropology

Low levels of body satisfaction have been consistently linked to disordered eating behaviors among women. However, few researchers have explored the mechanisms explaining this relationship among subgroups of women, who because of their social positioning (e.g., gender, race, and athlete status) may differ in the etiology of disordered eating. Accordingly, we surveyed 354 Black women student athletes (ages 18–24) to assess psychosocial health factors (resiliency, self-compassion, and social support) contributing to body satisfaction and disordered eating among this group. First, through a frequency analysis we determined approximately 50–60% of Black women student athletes reported being satisfied with their bodies, particularly with the muscularity and overall size and shape of their bodies. Second, a structural equation model supported the hypothesis that higher levels of self-compassion and social support contributed to greater body satisfaction, which, in turn, predicted athletes reporting fewer disordered eating behaviors. Our results suggest that body satisfaction is multidimensional, and there are specific psychosocial health factors that may bolster body satisfaction and protect against disordered eating among Black women student athletes.

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