Exercise Addiction in the Sports Context: What Is Known and What Is Yet to Be Known
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AuthorGodoy Izquierdo, Débora; Navarrón Vallejo, Estefanía; López Mora, Clara; González Hernández, Juan
Exercise addictionAthletesBehavioral addictionMental healthSports
Godoy-Izquierdo, D., Navarrón, E., López-Mora, C. et al. Exercise Addiction in the Sports Context: What Is Known and What Is Yet to Be Known. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2021). [https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-021-00641-9]
SponsorshipCRUE-CSIC; Research Group CTS267 by Junta de Andalucía (Spain); Universidad de Granada/CBUA
Exercise addiction (EA) involves excessive concerns for exercise routines, an abusive practice, and the inability to control one’s own behavior, as well as the presence of psychological processes that are typical of behavioral addictions such as abstinence. EA is further associated with an alteration of the individual’s personal, social, and professional functioning and a higher risk for several pathologies, including physical injury, psychological distress, and eating disorders. The present work presents a narrative scoping review of the state of the art and the main findings of the research on EA, with a focus in the athletic population. The prevalence of EA risk, between 1 and 52% and up to 80% when co-occurring with eating disturbances, is also reviewed. Additionally, some of the explanatory models proposed to date and their power and limitations in terms of their capacity for a consensual operationalization and characterization of EA, and thus for the optimal exploration and management of this condition, are discussed. Finally, some deficiencies in the research on EA are noted which are to be addressed to successfully respond to the intervention and prevention needs that occur both in the general context of exercise-sports practice and the specific context of competitive athletes.