Diagnostic criteria for exercise dependence in women.
ABSTRACT To formulate diagnostic criteria for exercise dependence.
Fifty six adult female exercisers were interviewed about their exercise behaviour and attitudes. The eating disorders examination, a semistructured clinical interview, was used to diagnose eating disorders. Interviews were taped, transcribed verbatim, and analysed from a social constructionist perspective using QSR NUD*IST. Participants also completed the exercise dependence questionnaire.
Two diagnostic criteria emerged from analysis of the interview data: impaired functioning and withdrawal. Impaired functioning was manifest in four areas: psychological, social and occupational, physical, and behavioural. Impairment in at least two areas was considered necessary for diagnosis. Withdrawal was evident as either an adverse reaction to the interruption of exercise or unsuccessful attempts at exercise control. Either sufficed for diagnosis. The absence or presence of an eating disorder was used to distinguish between primary and secondary exercise dependence. Ten women met these criteria for exercise dependence. All 10 also exhibited eating disorders and, accordingly, should be regarded as showing secondary, rather than primary, exercise dependence. Exercise dependent women had significantly higher scores on the exercise dependence questionnaire than non-dependent women.
These new diagnostic criteria should now be adopted and explored further, particularly among men and individuals with possible primary exercise dependence.
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ABSTRACT: This study was concerned with the concept of exercise dependence. Levels of psychological morbidity, personality profiles, and exercise beliefs were compared among subjects screened for exercise dependence and eating disorders. Adult female exercisers were allocated on the basis of questionnaire screening to one of the following groups: primary exercise dependence (n = 43); secondary exercise dependence, where there was the coincidence of exercise dependence and an eating disorder (n = 27); eating disorder (n =14); control, where there was no evidence of either exercise dependence or eating disorder (n = 110). Questionnaire assessment was undertaken of psychological morbidity, self esteem, weight and body shape dissatisfaction, personality, and exercise beliefs. Aside from a higher incidence of reported menstrual abnormalities, the primary exercise dependence group was largely indistinguishable from the controls. In stark contrast, the secondary exercise dependence group reported higher levels of psychological morbidity, neuroticism, dispositional addictiveness, and impulsiveness, lower self esteem, greater concern with body shape and weight, as well as with the social, psychological, and aesthetic costs of not exercising than the controls, but differed little from the eating disorder group. In the absence of an eating disorder, women identified as being exercise dependent do not exhibit the sorts of personality characteristics and levels of psychological distress that warrant the construction of primary exercise dependence as a widespread pathology.British Journal of Sports Medicine 05/2000; 34(2):125-32. · 4.14 Impact Factor