Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology

CURRENT ISSUES IN NORTH AMERICAN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY: IDENTIFICATION AND PREVENTION OF WEIGHT PRESSURES AND BODY IMAGE CONCERNS AMONG ATHLETES

Abstract

Justine J. Reel

Athletes have faced extreme physical and psychological demands associated with reaching peak performance. Some athletes have been “at risk” for developing unhealthy eating practices to lose or gain weight in attempts to become more competitive. Weight pressures associated with sport participation have included having a perceived performance advantage with weight changes, weight requirements, revealing team uniforms, teammates and coaching comments. Additionally, success for certain sports (i.e.,“aesthetic” sports), such as gymnastics and diving, may be closely tied to the appearance of the body shape or lines while performing stunts. This paper will provide an overview of research about weight pressures and body image concerns among athletes and will recommend assessment and prevention strategies to sport researchers and practitioners from across the globe.

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