Background Research documented the benefits of regular exercise (Haskell et al., 2007; United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2008), as well as its role in the prevention and treatment of both physical and mental disorders. On the other hand, exercise may have negative consequences when it becomes excessive. Exercise dependence is a craving for leisure time physical activity, that results in uncontrollable excessive exercise behaviours, manifesting in physiological (e.g. tolerance/withdrawal) and/or psychological (e.g. anxiety, depression) symptoms (Hausenblas & Downs, 2002a). Exercise dependence can become a compulsive behaviour, where people feel forced to exercise despite injuries, obligations or attempts to reduce their activity (Allegre et al., 2010; Grandi et al., 2010). The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore the prevalence of exercise dependence in a nonclinical mixed gender sample. Materials and method A total of 476 participants volunteered, 207 (95 men and 112 women, mean age = 22 ± 2.2 years ) were university students, 269 (145 men and 124 women, mean age = 29.8 ± 11.3 years) were habitual physical exercisers (organized practice in fitness clubs; n = 80) or competitive sportsmen/women in endurance (running, swimming, cycling and triathlon; n = 100) and aesthetic (gymnastic, dance and bodybuilding; n = 89) disciplines. Participants completed a package of self-report questionnaires including the Baecke habitual physical activity questionnaire - leisure and sport scales - (Baecke, Burema & Frijters, 1982) and the Exercise Dependence Scale (EDS-21, Hausenblas & Downs, 2002b). Results One-way ANOVA showed significant difference by the students and the sport groups in the Baecke sport scale (p < .001), in the EDS tolerance (p < .001), control (p = .030) and time (p < .001) subscales and in the EDS total score (p = .003). Significant differences were found by sport group in the Baecke leisure (p < .001) and sport (p < .001) scales, with endurance sportsmen/women reported significantly higher values (p < .001 at post-hoc test) and in the EDS continuance (p = .002), tolerance (p = .001), reduction (p = .002) and time (p = .002) scales. When considering the whole sample, significant differences by gender (p < .001) were found in the Baecke sport scale (with men had higher values) and in all the EDS scales except reduction, with men had always higher values excluding the withdrawal scale. Discussion Considering the students group, 2.9% can be categorized as at-risk for exercise dependent, 70.0% as nondependent-symptomatic and 27.1% as nondependent-asymptomatic. In the sport group percentage were respectively: 6.3% at-risk, 78.8% nondependent-symptomatic and 14.9% nondependent-asymptomatic. Data appears consistent with prior research findings among habitual exercisers. Results confirm the importance of recognising exercise dependence among adults engaging in physical activity, to prevent physical and psychological problems.

Exercise dependence a study among non-clinical population

CARRARO, ATTILIO;FERRI, ILARIA;GOBBI, ERICA
2012

Abstract

Background Research documented the benefits of regular exercise (Haskell et al., 2007; United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2008), as well as its role in the prevention and treatment of both physical and mental disorders. On the other hand, exercise may have negative consequences when it becomes excessive. Exercise dependence is a craving for leisure time physical activity, that results in uncontrollable excessive exercise behaviours, manifesting in physiological (e.g. tolerance/withdrawal) and/or psychological (e.g. anxiety, depression) symptoms (Hausenblas & Downs, 2002a). Exercise dependence can become a compulsive behaviour, where people feel forced to exercise despite injuries, obligations or attempts to reduce their activity (Allegre et al., 2010; Grandi et al., 2010). The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore the prevalence of exercise dependence in a nonclinical mixed gender sample. Materials and method A total of 476 participants volunteered, 207 (95 men and 112 women, mean age = 22 ± 2.2 years ) were university students, 269 (145 men and 124 women, mean age = 29.8 ± 11.3 years) were habitual physical exercisers (organized practice in fitness clubs; n = 80) or competitive sportsmen/women in endurance (running, swimming, cycling and triathlon; n = 100) and aesthetic (gymnastic, dance and bodybuilding; n = 89) disciplines. Participants completed a package of self-report questionnaires including the Baecke habitual physical activity questionnaire - leisure and sport scales - (Baecke, Burema & Frijters, 1982) and the Exercise Dependence Scale (EDS-21, Hausenblas & Downs, 2002b). Results One-way ANOVA showed significant difference by the students and the sport groups in the Baecke sport scale (p < .001), in the EDS tolerance (p < .001), control (p = .030) and time (p < .001) subscales and in the EDS total score (p = .003). Significant differences were found by sport group in the Baecke leisure (p < .001) and sport (p < .001) scales, with endurance sportsmen/women reported significantly higher values (p < .001 at post-hoc test) and in the EDS continuance (p = .002), tolerance (p = .001), reduction (p = .002) and time (p = .002) scales. When considering the whole sample, significant differences by gender (p < .001) were found in the Baecke sport scale (with men had higher values) and in all the EDS scales except reduction, with men had always higher values excluding the withdrawal scale. Discussion Considering the students group, 2.9% can be categorized as at-risk for exercise dependent, 70.0% as nondependent-symptomatic and 27.1% as nondependent-asymptomatic. In the sport group percentage were respectively: 6.3% at-risk, 78.8% nondependent-symptomatic and 14.9% nondependent-asymptomatic. Data appears consistent with prior research findings among habitual exercisers. Results confirm the importance of recognising exercise dependence among adults engaging in physical activity, to prevent physical and psychological problems.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2531874
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact