Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chairperson

Lindsey Keenan, PhD, LAT, ATC

Committee Member

Dan Baer, PhD, LAT, ATC

Committee Member

Rachel Daltry, Psy.D


Context: As the culture surrounding mental health in student-athletes is evolving, it is imperative athletic trainers (ATs) screen student-athletes for eating disorders (ED). The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) is a widely used ED risk screening measure but has never been validated within the student-athlete population. Psychometric properties and cut-off score of the EAT-26 are also inconclusive in student-athletes. The purpose of this study was to validate the EAT-26 against the gold standard ED diagnostic criteria, assess psychometric properties, and investigate prevalence of ED risk in collegiate student-athletes. Methods: Participants included 885 student-athletes from two NCAA Division-II universities, with 51.4% females and 48.4% males. The EAT-26 was administered electronically as part of the pre-participation exam mental health screening, and a cut-off score of 20 was used to classify ED risk. After screening, 290 student-athletes were administered a Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), as the gold standard for identifying mental health disorders. A ROC analysis was conducted to assess validity, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to assess psychometric properties, and descriptive statistics were used to assess ED prevalence. Results: The ROC analysis and EFA were unable to be conducted due to low number of participants who met ED criteria on the MINI. A prevalence of 1.93% (n = 17) and a mean EAT-26 score of 3.93±5.29 were reported. Conclusion: It is possible athletes underreported negative eating attitudes due to the nature of non-anonymous screening. ATs should create positive environments for addressing mental health in order to encourage honest symptom reporting. Word Count: 250