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The primary aim of this paper was to investigate moderators and predictors of response to two programs designed to reduce eating disorder risk factors in collegiate female athletes. This study served as an ancillary study to a parent trial that investigated the feasibility of an athlete modified cognitive dissonance-based program (AM-DBP) and an athlete modified healthy weight intervention program (AM-HWI).


157 female collegiate athletes were randomized to either the AM-DBP or the AM-HWI program. Participants completed surveys at baseline, post-intervention, 6 weeks, and 1 year.


After classifying sports as either lean or non-lean, we investigated if sport type acted as a moderator of program response to AM-DBP and AM-HWI using ANOVAs. Next, we examined whether baseline thin-ideal internalization, weight concern, shape concern, bulimic pathology, dietary restraint, and negative affect acted as predictors of changes in bulimic pathology using linear regression models.


Athletes in non-lean sports who received AM-DBP showed more improvement in negative affect versus non-lean sport athletes in AM-HWI. Higher baseline scores of bulimic pathology predicted greater response in bulimic pathology to both programs at 6-weeks. In contrast, athletes with higher dietary restraint and negative affect baseline scores showed decreased response to both interventions at 6-weeks. Finally, athletes with higher baseline shape concern showed a decreased response to the AM-HWI intervention at the post intervention time point.


Results from the present study indicate that lean/non-lean sport may not play a strong role in determining response to efficacious programs. Further, factors such as pre-existing bulimic pathology, dietary restraint, negative affect, and shape concern may affect general response to intervention versus specific responses to specific interventions.

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Psychology of Sport and Exercise

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