Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Chairperson

Deanne Zotter, PhD

Committee Member

Erin Hill, PhD

Committee Member

Christine Karpinski, PhD


The present study sought to explore embodiment, eating and exercise behaviors, and the pressures that Division II team-sport athletes face. Six female collegiate team-sport athletes with scholarships participated in a focus group and reflected on their relationships with their bodies, eating and exercise patterns, and pressures they experience as student athletes. Participants also completed questionnaires regarding their experiences with eating and embodiment. A reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2013) resulted in an overarching theme of “pressure to perform impacts athletes’ lives”, reflecting the dominant message participants shared regarding intense pressures experienced by student athletes. This overarching theme expanded into three main themes. The first theme, “athletes’ exhaustion from pressures”, reflects the fatigue experienced due to the multiple responsibilities athletes have and the pressure to succeed in all of their responsibilities. This was further explained by the subtheme “little time for self-care”. A second theme waspressure causes disruptions in embodiment”, which reflects student athletes’ disrupted relationships with their bodies due to sport demands. This was further explained by the subtheme of “negative body image perceptions”. The final theme, “scholarship is an added pressure”, reflects the additional pressures of a scholarship. This led to the subtheme of “competition for position on team”. Results show that there is pressure to always perform well for student athletes at the Division II level, and this pressure has consequences on all aspects of their lives, including their relationships with their bodies.