Effects of achievement goals on self-regulation of eating attitudes among elite female athletes: An experimental study

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Abstract

Introduction:

The influence of achievement goals on eating attitudes has mainly been examined through correlational studies (e.g., De Bruin, Bakker, & Oudejans, 2009; Duda & Kim, 1997), and none of the studies to date has focused on the self-regulation of eating attitudes in athletes. The present study experimentally tested the effects of achievement goals on both self-reported (Study 1) and behavioral indices (Study 2) of the self-regulation of eating attitudes in female figure skaters.

Method:

Elite female figure skaters (Study 1: n = 44; Study 2: n = 54) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions designed to induce specific goal involvement (performance-approach, mastery-approach, performance-avoidance, and mastery-avoidance) or a control condition (no goal induction). The participants in Study 1 completed the Self-Regulation of Eating Attitudes in Sport Scale (SREASS, Scoffier, Corrion, Paquet, & Arripe-Longueville, 2010) and those in Study 2 completed a virtual behavioral measure of self-regulation of eating attitudes (VSSR; Scoffier, 2009).

Results:

Variance analyses indicated that induced mastery-approach goals and performance-avoidance goals resulted in higher scores for self-regulation of eating attitudes than induced performance-approach goals and mastery-avoidance goals. The relationships were the same at both self-reported and behavioral levels.

Discussion:

This experimental study confirms the findings of previous correlational works and shows that achievement goals contribute to the causal processes of self-regulation of eating attitudes. These findings might help to prevent eating disorders in female athletes by providing guidance for the development of adapted motivational strategies.

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