Title

Collegiate Coaches' Perceived Leader Behaviors and Knowledge of Eating Disorders

Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Dennis Phillips

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation

Abstract

This study was designed to examine the knowledge of women's collegiate gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, cross country, track & field, tennis and volleyball coaches on the etiology, identifying signs, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, education, management and treatment of eating disorders, the confidence of the coaches in response correctness, and measure their self perceived coaching leader behaviors. A secondary purpose was to determine what role the athletic departments play in the education of coaches regarding eating disorders. The subjects included 125 Division I coaches and a non-experimental, correlation, survey design was utilized. The coaches were given a two part questionnaire. First, the Five Domains of Eating Disorders: A Survey for Collegiate Coaches, designed by Turk (1995) measured knowledge on eating disorders and confidence in responses and the second section of the instrument measured the coach's perception of his or her own leader behavior (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980). Content validity was established through a panel of experts and reliability was previously determined. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze research questions 1, 2 and 4 regarding knowledge on the etiology, identifying signs, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, education, management and treatment of eating disorders, confidence in correct responses and the role the athletic departments play in the education of eating disorders. A Pearson Correlation was used to determine the correlation between the domains of leader behaviors, knowledge of eating disorder factors and confidence in correctness. Lastly, a Multiple Regression was used to determine the correlation between knowledge scores and level of academic preparation, age, gender and number of years coaching. Results indicated that coaches had a high level of knowledge on the domains of eating disorders with 86% scoring higher than 70%. The coaches were most knowledgeable about the risk factors of eating disorders and most confident in the correctness of their responses to prevention and education of eating disorders, however, that domain had the lowest accuracy level. Over one-third of the coaches attended an education program sponsored by their athletic department and literature was the most widely provided educational resource. Coaches who had a Bachelor's or Master's degree scored higher overall on the knowledge instrument. Coaches who perceived themselves to exhibit autocratic behaviors displayed a lower level of knowledge on the risk factors associated with eating disorders. The higher the frequency of training and instruction behaviors, the less confident the coaches were of their correct responses to statements on signs and symptoms of eating disorders.