This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Perfectionism, perfectionistic self-presentation, body comparisons, and disordered eating in Women's Artistic Gymnastics.




Duffy, Alan

Type of Degree



Health and Human Performance


Previous scholarship has found that body image concerns begin at an early age in women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG). There have been mixed results concerning the prevalence of disordered eating in WAG. The current study sought to examine the correlation between perfectionism, perfectionistic self-presentation, body comparisons and disordered eating in a gymnast sample. The secondary purpose was to determine if age, level of gymnast competition and race are a factor in perfectionism, body comparisons and disordered eating. The participants were 42 female gymnasts, between the ages of 12 and 19 from a number of clubs, competing in competitive Level 7-10 USA Gymnastics WAG programs. All participants completed the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scales (FMPS; Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990); the Perfectionistic Self-Promotion scale of the Perfectionistic Self-Presentation Scales (PSPS; Hewitt & Flett, 1993); the Physical Appearance Comparison Scale (PACS; Thompson, J.K., Heinberg, Altabe, & Tantleff-Dunn, 1999) and the Children’s version of the Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT; Maloney, McGuire, & Daniels, 1988). The results showed that perfectionism was significantly positively correlated with perfectionistic self-presentation, body comparisons, and disordered eating. Perfectionistic self-presentation was also correlated with body comparisons and disordered eating, while body comparisons were also correlated with disordered eating. The results did not differ between groups on race or gymnastics competition level. Results only differed between groups for age on the PACS. The current study demonstrates that perfectionism, perfectionistic self-presentation, body comparisons, and disordered eating were correlated for gymnasts in this sample. The significant correlations between these variables show that further consideration of all of these factors should be taken into account in the gymnastics environment. Recommendations for future research are offered.