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Eat Behav. 2011 Dec;12(4):328-31. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Driven exercise among treatment-seeking youth with eating disorders.

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  • 1The University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Chicago, IL 60637, United States.



This study evaluated the prevalence and clinical significance of driven exercise (DE) in treatment-seeking youth.


Participants were 380 consecutive referrals to a pediatric eating disorder program (90.8% female; M age=14.9±2.2). Spearman's rho correlations examined the relation between DE frequency, and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) Global Severity scores. ANOVA compared those reporting only DE, only vomiting, or both DE and vomiting on the aforementioned measures.


51.3% of participants (n=193) reported DE in the past 3 months, with an average of 21.8 (SD=32.6) episodes. Frequency of DE was related to EDE global severity score (Spearman's rho=.46; p<.001) and BDI Total Score (Spearman's rho=.33; p<.001). Participants reporting both vomiting and DE had the highest EDE global severity and BDI total scores.


DE is associated with greater eating disorder and depressive symptomatology, especially when paired with vomiting. The findings highlight the importance of assessing for DE in youth presenting for eating disorder treatment.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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