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Objective: Several studies indicate that eating-disorder (ED) psychopathology is elevated in athletes compared to non-athletes. The assessment of excessive exercise among athletes is a challenge because, compared to non-athletes, athletes are required to train at higher intensities and for longer periods of time. However, individuals participating in competitive sports are still susceptible to unhealthy physical-activity patterns. Most ED assessments were developed and normed in non-athlete samples and, therefore, do not capture the nuances of athletes' training experiences. The purpose of the current study was to develop and validate a clinically useful, self-report measure of unhealthy training behaviors and beliefs in athletes, the Athletes' Relationships with Training Scale (ART).

Method: The initial item pool was administered to N = 267 women collegiate athletes who were participating in an ED prevention program study and N = 65 women athletes who were in ED treatment.

Results: Factor analyses indicated the ART had a four-factor structure. Factorial and construct validity of the ART were demonstrated. ART scores significantly predicted health care utilization and differed between athletes with an ED versus athletes without an ED. For athletes in ED treatment, ART scores significantly decreased from treatment admission to discharge.

Discussion: The ART showed evidence of strong psychometric properties and clinical utility. The ART could be helpful for clinicians and athletic trainers to help gauge whether athletes are engaging in unhealthy training practices that may warrant clinical attention and for tracking clinical outcomes in athletes with EDs who are receiving treatment.




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International Journal of Eating Disorders

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Psychology Commons