What is Exercise Dependence? Exercise dependence (also referred to as negative addiction, compulsion, obsession) is physical activity that is extreme in frequency and duration, relatively resistant to change, and it is often associated with an irresistible impulse to continue exercise despite injury, illness, fatigue, or other personal demands (Hausenblas & Symons Downs, 2002a).
Exercise Dependence Criteria: The criteria for exercise dependence are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV, 1994) criteria for substance dependence as well as previous research (e.g., Ogden et al., 1997; Veale, 1995). While the DSM-IV does not have specific criteria for execise dependence, the criteria for substance dependence were used as the framework. Exercise dependence is conceptualized and measured as a multidimensional maladaptive pattern of exercise, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three or more of the following:
Tolerance: need for increased amounts of exercise to achieve
desired effect; diminished effect with continued use of same amount
Exercise Dependence Scale-21 is based on the 7 aforementioned
exercise dependence criteria (Hausenblas & Symons Downs, 2002a,
2002b) and it can be dowloaded free as a part of the User's
Manual for the Exercise Dependence Scale (pdf document)