1 March 2012
Aim of the study: We assessed exercise dependence (ED), alcohol and nicotine use disorders, eating disorders, hypochondria and compulsive buying and in a population of customers of a Parisian sport shop. Methods: Five hundred consecutive customers of a sport shop were invited to participate. Diagnostic of exercise dependence was made with the Exercise Addiction Inventory and a specific questionnaire checking all diagnostic criteria. The DSM-IV-TR criteria for bulimia, alcohol and nicotine use disorders were checked and all subjects answered the CAGE and Fagerström questionnaires. Hypochondria was assessed with the DSM-IV-TR criteria and the Whiteley Index of Health Anxiety. For all parameters, customers with (ED+) and without (ED-) exercise dependence were compared. Results: The prevalence of exercise dependence was 29.6%. Subjects from the ED+ group were younger than in the ED-group (27.1 vs 29.8 years) and there were more women. They were more dependent on alcohol, had higher scores at the CAGE questionnaire. ED+ subjects more often presented hypochondria (23 vs 15%), bulimia and binge eating and they more often made gifts to themselves and to others. Conclusions: Exercise dependence appears as a frequent and almost always unrecognized form of behavioral dependence in non clinical population frequenting sport shops. It is frequently associated to chemical dependence and eating disorders.