Morbid exercise behaviour and eating disorders: a meta-analysis

Alcaraz-Ibáñez, M., Paterna, A., Sicilia, Á. and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2020. Morbid exercise behaviour and eating disorders: a meta-analysis. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 9 (2), pp. 206-224. ISSN 2062-5871

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Background and aims: This study was aimed at examining the relationship between self-reported symptoms of morbid exercise behaviour (MEB) and eating disorders (ED) using meta-analytic techniques. Methods: We systematically searched MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, SciELO and Scopus. Random effects models were used to compute pooled effect sizes estimates (r). The robustness of the summarized estimates was examined through sensitivity analyses by removing studies one at a time. Results: Sixty-six studies comprising 135 effect-sizes (N 5 21,816) were included. The results revealed: (a) small-sized relationship in the case of bulimic symptoms (r 5 0.19), (b) small-(r 5 0.28) to medium-sized relationships (r 5 0.41) in the case of body/eating concerns, (c) medium-sized relationships in the case of overall ED symptoms (r 5 0.35) and dietary restraint (r 5 0.42). Larger effect sizes were observed in the case of overall ED symptoms in clinical, younger, and thinner populations, as well as when employing a continuously-scored instrument for assessing ED or the Compulsive Exercise Test for assessing MEB. Larger effect sizes were also found in female samples when the ED outcome was dietary restraint. Conclusions: The identified gaps in the literature suggest that future research on the topic may benefit from: (a) considering a range of clinical and non-clinical populations in terms of exercise modalities or diagnosed ED, (b) addressing a wide range of ED symptomatology, and (c) employing longitudinal designs that clarify the temporal direction of the relationship under consideration .

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Creators: Alcaraz-Ibáñez, M., Paterna, A., Sicilia, Á. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Akadémiai Kiadó
Date: June 2020
Volume: 9
Number: 2
ISSN: 2062-5871
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 30 Jun 2020 10:52
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:10

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