Eating Attitudes Among Exercisers: Conceptual and Methodological Issues

  • Helen Lane

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research programme investigates the nature of exercisers emotions to diet and eating behaviours. As existing measures were validated using either clinical or student samples, the first step examined the validity of the 26-item Eating Attitude Test on a sample of 598 exercisers. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) results indicated poor support for the commonly used one-factor model. Support was found for a 21 -item 4-factor model EAT model. However, the excessive negative focus is counter to the logic that many people are seen to engage in more exercise and improve their diet simultaneously. It was argued that the EAT does not measure the full range of eating attitudes concepts and a new measure should be developed specifically for exercisers. To achieve this objective, The Exercisers Eating Scale' (TEES) was developed. In stage 1, themes were generated from interviews with exercisers. In stage 2, a panel of experts assessed the validity of 130 items developed to reflect these themes. This resulted in retaining 78- items. In stage 3, 1260 exercise participants completed the measure with CFA being used to refine the measure. A six-factor 29-item measure that assessed 'Unhealthy eating behaviours', 'Healthy eating behaviours', 'Weight management', 'Emotional responses to diet', 'Dietary responses to emotions', and 'Body image' showed acceptable fit indices. In stage 4, concurrent validity of TEES was assessed through correlations with four measures: the Revised EAT-21 (developed in stage 1); Body Shape Questionnaire; Social Physical Anxiety Scale, and Motivation to Eat Scale. Correlation results lend support to the construct validity of the TEES. A case study intervention demonstrates the utility of the TEES for use in intervention designed to change attitudes and behaviours for diet. A conceptual framework for relationships between TEES factors was developed and studies to test this framework are recommended for future research.
    Date of AwardMar 2008
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorNicky Lewis (Supervisor)

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