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Exercise dependence as a mediator of the exercise and eating disorders relationship: A pilot study

Cook, Brian, Hausenblas, Heather, Crosby, Ross D., Cao, Li, Wonderlich, Stephen A.
Eating behaviors 2015 v.16 pp. 9-12
attitudes and opinions, eating disorders, exercise, models, variance, women
Excessive exercise is a common feature of eating disorders (ED) and is associated with earlier ED onset, more ED symptoms, and higher persistence of ED behavior. Research indicates that exercise amount alone is not associated with ED. The purpose of this study was to investigate pathological attitudes and behaviors related to exercise (e.g., exercise dependence) as a mediator of the exercise and ED relationship.Participants were 43 women with an ED who completed measures of ED symptoms, exercise behavior, and exercise dependence. Analyses were conducted using the indirect bootstrapping method for examining mediation.Exercise dependence mediated the relationship between exercise and ED. This mediation model accounted for 14.34% of the variance in the relationship.Our results extend the literature by offering preliminary evidence of a psychological variable that may be a candidate for future interventions on the exercise and ED relationship. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.