Examining exercise dependence symptomatology from a self-determination perspective

Jemma Edmunds, Nikolaos Ntoumanis, Joan Duda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Based on the theoretical propositions of Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985) this study examined whether individuals classified as “nondependent-symptomatic” and “nondependent-asymptomatic” for exercise dependence differed in terms of the level of exercise-related psychological need satisfaction and self-determined versus controlling motivation they reported. Further, we examined if the type of motivational regulations predicting exercise behaviour differed among these groups. Methods: Participants (N = 339), recruited from fitness, community, and retail settings, completed measures of exercise-specific psychological need satisfaction, motivational regulations, exercise behaviour and exercise dependence. Results: Individuals who were nondependent-symptomatic for exercise dependence reported higher levels of competence need satisfaction and all forms of motivational regulation, compared to nondependent-asymptomatic individuals. Introjected regulation approached significance as a positive predictor of strenuous exercise behaviour for symptomatic individuals. Identified regulation was a positive predictor of strenuous exercise for asymptomatic individuals. Conclusions: The findings reinforce the applicability of SDT to understanding engagement in exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-903
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


  • exercise dependence
  • psychological needs
  • motivational regulations
  • physical activity
  • intrinsic motivation
  • questionnaire
  • validation
  • symptoms
  • behavior
  • motives
  • scale
  • needs


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