Too much of a good thing? Examining the relationship between passion for exercise and exercise dependence

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To examine the relationship between passion (i.e., love for an activity that is valued for which and a great deal of time is invested) for exercise and exercise dependence symptoms.


A cross-sectional correlational survey design was utilised.


A total of 480 participants (n = 275 females, n = 205 males; Mage = 18.58, SD = 1.66) completed the Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (Godin, Jobin, & Bouillon, 1986), the Passion Scale (Vallerand et al., 2003), and the Exercise Dependence Scale-Revised (Hausenblas, Symons-Downs, & Nigg, 2004). Path analysis using structural equation modelling was used to assess the relationships between passion and exercise dependence.


Path analysis using structural equation modelling via AMOS 20.0 (Arbuckle, 2011) revealed that harmonious passion (i.e., being in control of the activity and deciding when and when not to engage in it) was positively related to the exercise dependence dimensions of time and tolerance. On the other hand, obsessive passion (i.e., an internal compulsion to engage in the activity even when not appropriate to do so) was positively related to all seven exercise dependence dimensions: time, tolerance, withdrawal, continuance, intention effects, lack of control, and reduction in other activities (CFI = .91, RMSEA = .05, SRMR = .06).


An empirical relationship has been established to support the proposed theoretical link between passion (harmonious and obsessive) for exercise and exercise dependence dimensions.


▸ Harmonious passion positively related to exercise dependence dimensions: time and tolerance. ▸ Obsessive passion positively related to all exercise dependence dimensions. ▸ Passion for exercise a determinant of exercise behaviour. ▸ Theoretical link between passion and exercise dependence supported.

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