Individual Factors and the Context of Physical Activity in Exercise Dependence: A Prospective Study of ‘Ultra-Marathoners’

Abstract

Although there is a growing body of literature examining determinants and correlates of exercise dependence, there has been a lack systematic measures of individual factors combined with the context of physical activity characteristics. The aim of this prospective study was therefore to examine the relative influence of individual factors and environmental context of physical activity on exercise dependence. This study examined a group of 95 ‘ultra-marathoners’ of a 100 km race. Each participant completed a questionnaire that assessed individual factors (e.g., sex, age, BMI, marital status, etc.), context of the physical activity (e.g., environmental and social context of practice), and the effect on the body as a result of physical activity (e.g., body control and modification). For participants in this study, the strongest predictors of exercise dependence were individual factors (age and BMI), and exercising in the city in an unstructured space. It is concluded that an ecological model of physical activity could be applied to exercise dependence, and that exercise dependence could provide interesting insights into the promotion of physical activity as a health-related behaviour.

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Correspondence to Benjamin Allegre.

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Allegre, B., Therme, P. & Griffiths, M. Individual Factors and the Context of Physical Activity in Exercise Dependence: A Prospective Study of ‘Ultra-Marathoners’. Int J Ment Health Addiction 5, 233–243 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-007-9081-9

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Keywords

  • Exercise dependence
  • Exercise addiction
  • Physical activity
  • Social and environmental context