Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Pamela Stone

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Spielvogel

Third Advisor

Dr. Debra Martin

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Women who participate in competitive sports are under enormous pressure to maintain an extremely low body weight through diet and exercise. While exercise is viewed as widely beneficial to women of all ages, the pressure to succeed in sports by achieving or maintaining an unrealistically low body weight through food restriction and high intensity training may lead some women to develop eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis.

The research conducted for this thesis and presented here investigates female college athletes (18-24 years) from Western Michigan University, a Division I school, who are undergoing strenuous training. The goal of this study is to determine if these female athletes are showing signs of menstrual dysfunction and whether or not they understand the long-term consequences of amenorrhea on their health and bone density. An additional focus is on the information given to these female athletes in training regarding the possibility of menstrual dysfunction as a result of the duress of weight reduction and stress of competition. Furthering this is an understanding of the information being offered to these women regarding the potential long term health effects of athletic stress on their bodies, particularly their skeletal structures, and reproductive system.

Included in

Anthropology Commons