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Gender Differences in Exercise Dependence and Eating Disorders in Young Adults: A Path Analysis of a Conceptual Model

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School of Health Professions, Department of Public Health & Wellness, Andrews University, 8475 University Boulevard—Marsh Hall, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0210, USA
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College of Education, Department of Individual, Family & Community Education, University of New Mexico, Hokona Hall 156 MSC05 3040, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA
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School of Education, Department of Educational & Counseling Psychology, Andrews University, 4195 Administration Drive—Bell Hall 159, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0104, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2014, 6(11), 4895-4905; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6114895
Received: 28 August 2014 / Revised: 21 October 2014 / Accepted: 28 October 2014 / Published: 5 November 2014
The purpose of our study was to study the prevalence of exercise dependence (EXD) among college students and to investigate the role of EXD and gender on exercise behavior and eating disorders. Excessive exercise can become an addiction known as exercise dependence. In our population of 517 college students, 3.3% were at risk for EXD and 8% were at risk for an eating disorder. We used Path analysis the simplest case of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to investigate the role of EXD and exercise behavior on eating disorders. We observed a small direct effect from gender to eating disorders. In females we observed significant direct effect between exercise behavior (r = −0.17, p = 0.009) and EXD (r = 0.34, p < 0.001) on eating pathology. We also observed an indirect effect of exercise behavior on eating pathology (r = 0.16) through EXD (r = 0.48, r2 = 0.23, p < 0.001). In females the total variance of eating pathology explained by the SEM model was 9%. In males we observed a direct effect between EXD (r = 0.23, p < 0.001) on eating pathology. We also observed indirect effect of exercise behavior on eating pathology (r = 0.11) through EXD (r = 0.49, r2 = 0.24, p < 0.001). In males the total variance of eating pathology explained by the SEM model was 5%. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender; exercise dependence; eating disorder; mediator gender; exercise dependence; eating disorder; mediator
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Meulemans, S.; Pribis, P.; Grajales, T.; Krivak, G. Gender Differences in Exercise Dependence and Eating Disorders in Young Adults: A Path Analysis of a Conceptual Model. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4895-4905.

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