• exercise dependence;
  • health-related quality of life;
  • eating disorders



To examine associations among pathological motivations for exercise with eating disorder (ED) specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


Survey data assessing ED severity (i.e., Eating Disorder Diagnostic Survey), ED specific HRQOL (i.e., Eating Disorders Quality of Life Instrument), and pathological motivations for exercise (i.e., Exercise Dependence Scale) were collected from female students (N = 387) at seven universities throughout the United States. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations among exercise dependence, ED-specific HRQOL and ED severity, and the interaction of exercise dependence and ED severity on HRQOL scores.


The overall model examining the impact of ED severity and exercise dependence (independent variables) on HRQOL (dependent variable) was significant and explained 16.1% of the variance in HRQOL scores. Additionally, the main effects for ED severity and exercise dependence and the interaction among ED severity and exercise dependence were significant, suggesting that the combined effects of ED severity and exercise dependence significantly impacts HRQOL.


Our results suggest that pathological motivations for exercise may exacerbate ED's detrimental impact on HRQOL. Our results offer one possible insight into why exercise may be associated with deleterious effects on ED HRQOL. Future research is needed to elucidate the relationship among psychological aspects of exercise, ED, and HRQOL. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:268–272)