Inspiration or Thinspiration: the Association Among Problematic Internet Use, Exercise Dependence, and Eating Disorder Risk

  • Danika A. QuesnelEmail author
  • Brian Cook
  • Kellen Murray
  • Jessica Zamudio
Original Article


Problematic Internet use (PIU) has been associated with eating disorder (ED) risk factors and pathological patterns of exercise (e.g., exercise dependence (EXD)). Few studies have empirically examined the co-occurrence and relationship among PIU, EXD, and EDs simultaneously. Thus, the primary purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and co-occurrence of PIU, EXD, and ED in a population-based sample of women. The secondary purpose was to categorically examine the relationship of negative affect with PIU, EXD, and ED symptom scores while controlling for negative affect. A sample of 898 women (M age = 27.6) completed questionnaire measures of ED, EXD, and PUI. Overall, 14.32% reported PIU, 1.96% stated EXD, and 35.07% reported ED risk. Correlations among negative affect and PIU, EDS, and EXD scores were observed. Results suggest comorbid relationships may exist among these increasingly prevalent behaviors and have implications in decisions concerning the prevention and treatment of EDs.


Problematic Internet use Disordered eating Exercise dependence Risk factors Internet 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Statement

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danika A. Quesnel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian Cook
    • 2
  • Kellen Murray
    • 2
  • Jessica Zamudio
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social DevelopmentUniversity of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada
  2. 2.California State University Monterey BaySeasideUSA

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