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Relationships Between Exercise Behaviour, Eating-Disordered Behaviour and Quality of Life in a Community Sample of Women: When is Exercise ‘Excessive’?
Objective: To examine relationships between exercise behaviour, eating-disordered behaviour and quality of life in a community sample of women.
Method: Self-report measures of frequency of exercise, obligatoriness of exercise and motivation for exercise, and of eating disorder psychopathology and quality of life, were completed by 169 women aged 18–45 who engaged in regular exercise.
Results: Exercising to improve appearance or body tone, and feelings of guilt following the postponement of exercise, were the exercise variables most strongly associated with elevated levels of eating disorder psychopathology and, in turn, reduced quality of life. There was no association between exercise behaviour and quality of life independent of the effects of eating disorder psychopathology.
Conclusions: Operational definitions of ‘excessive exercise’ might usefully include reference to the use of exercise to improve appearance or body tone and the experience of guilt following postponement of exercise. Inclusion of such information in prevention programmes for eating disorders may also be of benefit. ‘Excessive exercise’ is unlikely to be associated with impairment in psychosocial functioning in the absence of eating disorder psychopathology.
Publication titleEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association