Sarah Wensink

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Graduate Education

First Advisor

Steve Holtrop


This research study investigated the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors amongst collegiate athletes as well as factors that increase one’s susceptibility to partake in disordered eating behaviors. The participants were 380 collegiate athletes from a small midwestern university. The participants were student athletes from a variety of different sports. Athletes were requested to complete a 26-item questionnaire that assessed their eating behaviors, perfectionist tendencies, health knowledge, and feelings surrounding body image and satisfaction. This research study explored the relationship between these factors. The results of this study found that female athletes may be more prone to report disordered eating behavior than males. Females are also more likely to be dissatisfied with their body image and are more likely to compare themselves to others and society’s ideals. Females, more so than males, also believe that they would be more successful in their sport if they were thinner. This research study confirmed that those with perfectionistic tendencies may be more likely to partake in disordered eating habits. Contrary to prior research, this study found that athletes whose coaches talk about the importance of good nutrition and creating healthy eating habits appear more likely to participate in disordered eating behaviors. Disordered eating is apparently prevalent amongst collegiate athletes even at a small midwestern university, however there are things that coaches can do to prevent disordered eating behaviors.


Action Research Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education