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Exercise dependence, social physique anxiety, and social support in experienced and inexperienced bodybuilders and weightlifters


Objectives—To investigate psychological correlates of exercise dependence in experienced and inexperienced bodybuilders and weightlifters. Secondary objectives included measuring social physique anxiety, bodybuilding identity, and social support among bodybuilders and weightlifters.

Methods—Thirty five experienced bodybuilders, 31 inexperienced bodybuilders, and 23 weightlifters completed the bodybuilding dependence scale, a bodybuilding version of the athletic identity measurement scale, the social physique anxiety scale, and an adapted version of the social support survey-clinical form.

Results—A between subjects multivariate analysis of variance was calculated on the scores of the three groups of lifters for the four questionnaires. Univariate F tests and follow up tests indicated that experienced bodybuilders scored significantly higher than inexperienced bodybuilders and weightlifters on bodybuilding dependence (p<0.001), social identity and exclusivity subscales of bodybuilding identity (p<0.001), and social support scales (p<.001), and significantly lower on social physique anxiety (p<0.001).

Conclusion—Experienced bodybuilders exhibit more exercise dependence, show greater social support behaviour, and experience less social physique anxiety than inexperienced bodybuilders and weightlifters.

  • bodybuilding
  • exercise dependence
  • social physical anxiety
  • social support
  • athletic identity

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  • Original article
    Michael L Sachs