Who cares about men? Exercise addiction symptomatology and its relationship to disordered eating in male sport science students

Pia Braun, Valeria Eckardt, Sinikka Heisler, Birte von Haaren-Mack

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch/Bericht/KonferenzbandKonferenzbeitrag - Abstract in KonferenzbandForschungBegutachtung


Although widely recognized as a healthy habit, exercise entails the risk to become a detrimental obsession – a phenomenon best described by the term exercise addiction (Hausenblas & Symons Downs, 2002). Research in professional athletes has shown that exercise addiction is a serious problem in athletes with high practice frequency and duration as contributing factors (Ziemainz et al., 2013). Furthermore, exercise addiction has proved to be a common clinical aspect in male adolescents with disordered eating (Levallius, Collin, & Birgegård, 2017). Until now there is a lack of research regarding eating disorders in males, which has lead to a marginalization (Murray, Griffiths, & Mond, 2016). With regard to their high daily involvement in exercising, sport science students may be an at risk population. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate exercise addiction and its relationship to disordered eating in sport science students. 59 participants (Mage = 24.27 ± 2.87; Mpractice//week = 4.68 ± 1.98) completed the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI; Griffiths, Szabo, & Terry, 2005) and the short-version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-8; Richter et al., 2016) online. The EAI is a brief screening tool including six questions related to addiction with a cut-off point of 13 indicating some symptoms and 24 representing high-risk. To assess attitudes promoting disordered eating, the EAT-8 was used (cut-off at 2). Participants showed a mean EAT-8-score of 2.20 (± 1.82) and a mean EAI-score of 18.95 (± 4.11). Seven students (12%) reported an EAIscore above 24 and can therefore be classified as at high-risk for exercise addiction. 39 (66%) participants met the cut-off point for disordered eating. In sum, 54% students met cut-off-criteria for both screening tools (EAI > 12). Exercise addiction was not related to disordered eating, however it was significantly associated with practice duration (r = .30, p = .023) and practice frequency (r = .45, p < .001). Compared to the general exercising population, the results of the present study (12% at risk for exercise addiction) show a three times higher prevalence risk for exercise addiction (Szabo, 2010). Since mean values of both instruments exceed cut-off points results have to interpreted cautiously. Further, it raises the question whether results reliably reflect pathological symptomatology or whether cut-off-values need to be adapted due to participants' academic demands. The results for the EAT-8 suggest that dietary habits of sport students might foster disordered eating. Future studies should investigate both phenomena with adequate tools for this target group to replicate the results and establish potential preventive strategies.
Titel50. Jahrestagung der asp "Die Psychophysiologie der Handlung" : 10. - 12. Mai 2018 : Abstractband der 50. Jahrestagung der asp
Herausgeber*innenUirassu Borges, Laura Bröker, Sven Hoffmann, Thomas Hosang, Sylvain Laborde, Roman Liepelt, Babett Lobinger, Jonna Löffler, Lisa Musculus, Markus Raab
Herausgeber (Verlag)Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2018
VeranstaltungJahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Sportpsychologie (asp) - Köln, Deutschland
Dauer: 10.05.201812.05.2018
Konferenznummer: 50