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  • 1 Section of Psychology, Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Messina, Via Bivona, 98122, Messina, Italy
  • 2 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Open access

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of our study was to explore the prevalence, and the role of mood, exercise frequency, age, and gender differences of exercise dependence.

Methods

Regular exercisers (N = 409) completed a socio-demographic questionnaire, the Exercise Dependence Scale, and the Profile of Mood States. For data analyses, the participants were stratified for sex and age (age ranges = young adults: 18–24 years, adults: 25–44 years, and middle-aged adults: 45–64 years).

Results

We found that: (a) 4.4% of the participants were classified as at-risk for exercise dependence; (b) the men and the two younger groups (i.e., young adults and adults) had higher exercise dependence scores; and (c) age, gender, exercise frequency, and mood state were related to exercise dependence.

Conclusions

Our results support previous research on the prevalence of exercise dependence and reveal that adulthood may be the critical age for developing exercise dependence. These findings have practical implication for identifying individuals at-risk for exercise dependence symptoms, and may aid in targeting and guiding the implementation of prevention program for adults.

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