Feedback given to athletes by their coaches is a topic that has not been extensively researched in terms of its effect on perfectionist tendencies and disordered eating in athletes. It is important to reduce factors that are associated with disordered eating before the overt disordered eating behaviors can develop into a more severe clinical-level eating disorder. In investigating these links, parallels were drawn between research that has shown negative effects from harsh parental feedback to hypothesize about the effects of coaching feedback. The hypotheses examined include: I. Feedback from coaches that is interpreted by athletes as harsh, ego-involved, or highly critical will be positively correlated with socially prescribed perfectionism in those athletes. 2. Athletes with higher levels of pre-existing self-oriented perfectionism will expect harsher and more critical feedback from coaches than athletes that have lower levels of pre-existing self-oriented perfectionism. 3. Unmet feedback expectations will be positively correlated with disordered eating behaviors. 4. Socially prescribed perfectionism will mediate the relation between harsh, ego-involved, or highly critical feedback and disordered eating behaviors. In the current study, 103 collegiate athletes reported their attitudes and behaviors concerning eating, body image, perfectionism, the feedback they received from their coaches, and the feedback they want from their coaches. Significant results were found showing negative correlations between negative feedback expected and self-oriented perfectionism in women. Significant positive correlations were found between socially prescribed perfectionism and disordered eating for both men and women. Limitations of the study included the way that negative feedback and perfectionism were measured. It would be interesting for future studies to examine the role of coaching feedback at in a Division I athletic environment. Future research should continue to examine the effects of coaching feedback on perfectionism and disordered eating so that coaches and athletes can be well-informed about ways to establish a healthier athletic environment.
Chase, '09, Natalie E., "The Effects of Coaching Feedback on Perfectionism and Disordered Eating in College Athletes" (2009). Honors Projects. 127.