Objective: Recent studies using multidimensional measures have shown that men (Exercise Dependence Scale; EDS-R) are more exercise dependent than women, while others found that women (Exercise Dependence Questionnaire; EDQ) are more dependent than men. This study investigated whether there may be sex differences in exercise dependence or whether the questionnaires may be measuring different dimensions of exercise dependence.
Design: Regular exercisers voluntarily completed the EDS-R, EDQ and Drive for Thinness (DFT) subscale before or after a workout.
Setting: A local health club in the eastern U.S.
Participants: Male (N=102) and female (N=102) exercisers completed the three questionnaires, but 11 (1 male, 10 females) were removed from further analysis because scores indicated possible secondary exercise dependence (eating disorder).
Primary Outcome Measurements: Eight subscales of the EDQ, seven subscales of the EDS, the DFT subscale, and several demographic variables served as dependent measures.
Results. A MANOVA on the EDS-R showed that males were significantly higher than females on the Withdrawal, Continuance, Tolerance, Lack of Control, Time and Intention Effect subscales. Another MANOVA on the EDQ indicated that females were significantly higher than males on the Interference, Positive Rewards, Withdrawal, Social Reasons subscales. T-tests revealed that males were significantly higher in total EDS-R scores than females, but females significantly higher in EDQ and DFT scores.
Conclusion. These results suggest that both questionnaires measure different aspects of exercise dependence that favor either gender. It remains for further research to determine whether these instruments are equally viable for measurement of ED in both men and women.
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