Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 1

Daniel Czech

Committee Member 2

Ashley Walker


According to Brewer, Davis, Kalmbach, Kaptein, Katzman and Kirsch (1997), problematic exercise occurs in approximately 80% of anorexia nervosa patients and 55% of bulimia nervosa patients. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of unhealthy exercise is necessary for its assessment as well as eating disorder prevention and intervention. One term used to describe unhealthy exercise is compulsive exercise. Although compulsive exercise has been regarded as problematic in the development, treatment, and outcome of eating disorders, little research has investigated the risk factors for this behavior. Given the influence of body image disturbances on disordered eating and the relationship between compulsive exercise and disordered eating attitudes, this is extremely problematic. In the present study, it was hypothesized that the avoidance body self (feared for fat self) would be a stronger predictor of compulsive exercise behavior than approach body selves (hoped for thin self). Further, it was hypothesized that while these body image discrepancies would be significant predictors of compulsive behavior for both men and women, women would experience larger discrepancy scores than men. Overall, it was found that the ideal body self significantly predicted the avoidance and rule-driven behavior subscale as well as the exercise rigidity subscale. However, the ought and feared body selves did not significantly predict any of the compulsive exercise subscales. Further, it was found that women had larger ideal, ought and feared discrepancy scores than men.