EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia

<< EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention >>
Sport Psychology(psy407)
Lesson 42
The Immune System, Cancer, HIV and Exercise
In recent years research has linked two of the great plagues of our time (cancer and HIV) to exercise and its
effect on the immune system. While exercise has generally been linked to benefits, in cases of excess it can
have negative consequences. It is like a two-edged sword: it cuts both ways. If applied in moderation it can
have beneficial effects, but if applied in excess it can have negative effects.
Exercise and Cancer
Moderate exercise is linked to a lowered incidence of colon and breast cancer. Young women who regularly
participate in physical exercise activities during their reproductive years have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Individuals who have cancer, but who exercise regularly, may benefit from improved psychological well-
being, preservation of lean tissue, and enhanced immune system.
Exercise and the Immune System
Research clearly suggests that exercising in moderation leads to improved psychological mood and
enhanced immune system functioning. Conversely, it is widely believed that chronic intense and stressful
exercise may result in mood disturbance and in suppression of the immune system. There is growing
evidence that for several hours following heavy sustained exertion, the immune system is suppressed.
It is believed that the immune system is stimulated and strengthened by moderately intense exercise, but
suppressed by overly intense exercise. It appears that there exists an optimal level of regular physical activity
conducive to the resistance to illness. Apparently, you can have too much of a good thing.
Exercise and Human Immunodeficiency Virus
It is widely believed by medal professionals that the presence of the HIV ultimately leads to acquired
immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Increased anxiety and depression should be viewed as risk factor
facilitating the development of AIDS. Because exercise has been positively linked with decreased anxiety
and depression, it follows that chronic exercise is effective in retarding the negative progression and effects
of HIV.
Research suggests that moderate exercise is an effective complementary therapy for treating psychological
manifestations associated with HIV infections.
Social Physique Anxiety, Physical Self-Concept, and Body Image
Social physique anxiety, physical self-concept, and body image are all constructs that describe how an
individual feels about her physical body. While these constructs are not identical to each other, they are
correlated, and are predictive to exercise behavior. A high score on social physique anxiety and low scores
on physical self-concept and body image are predictive of a low level of exercise behavior. Individuals who
are anxious about their bodies, have low physical self-concepts, and have low body images have a hard time
getting motivated to exercise.
Social physique anxiety is the anxiety people experience when they perceive that other people evaluate their
physiques negatively. Physical self-concept is the perception that people have about themselves relative to
the physical-self. Physical self-concept is closely tied to the notion that an individual's feeling of self-worth
and self-esteem is related to how he perceives himself within his body. Body image refers to the images or
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
Sport Psychology(psy407)
pictures people have about their bodies. The image that a person has about her own body can be quite
different from the one that other people have of her. Research shows that physically active people have
better body image than physically inactive people.
Exercise Addiction
Exercise addiction is generally defined as a psychophysiological dependence on a regular regimen of
exercise. The normal benefits associated with regular exercise at a moderate intensity are lost for the
exercise-addiction individual. Failure to exercise according to schedule results in a mood state disturbance in
the addicted individual. From an attributionial perspective, the addicted exerciser is controlled by the
activity, as opposed to the activity's being controlled by the exerciser. Compared to nonaddicted exerciser,
addicted exercisers report being more restless and stressed out prior to an exercise bout. They also
experience a higher degree of depression, anxiety, and general discomfort when they miss a scheduled
workout. An important characteristic of the exercise addict is that he will generally insist on exercising in the
face of physical pain or injury.
Another term used to describe the addicted exerciser is obligatory runner. Obligatory runners are highly
motivated to exercise, and when they can't, they experience abnormal feelings of anxiety and psychological
Eating Disorders and Physical Activity
Actual clinically diagnosed eating disorders are relatively rare among athletes and physical activity
enthusiasts. Much more prevalent are a whole array of unhealthy subclinical eating disorders. We will
discuss both briefly.
Clinically diagnosed eating disorders
The two most severe clinically diagnosed or pathogenic rating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia
Anorexia nervosa
They exhibit the following criteria:
Severe weight loss
Refusal to maintain normal body weight
Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
Severe body image disturbance
Treatment and recovery requires professional help. The diagnosed anorexic cannot overcome this mental
illness herself.
Bulimia Nervosa
They exhibit the following criteria:
a.  Binge eating followed by purging at least twice per week for three months
b. Loss of self-control
c.  Severe body image disturbance
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
Sport Psychology(psy407)
Bulimics are preoccupied with food and weight, fear getting fat, and exhibit chaotic eating behaviors. Unlike
anorexics, bulimics turn to food, rather than away from it. As with anorexia nervosa, treatment and recovery
from bulimia nervosa requires professional help.
Sub clinical Eating Disorder among Athletes.
Males and females involved in activities that link leanness to success are often pressured to be thin. This is
especially true for female athletes involved in gymnastics and dancers. In an effort to be thin and to meet
their coaches' expectations, athletes may turn to a number of questionable eating and exercise behaviors
that may compromise their health. Several recent studies have reported on subcilinical eating disorders
among athletes. Of particular interest is a meta-analysis involving 92 studies, and 10, 878 athletes
(Hausenblas & Carron, 1999). Results of this meta-analysis are as follows:
1. Athletes report more eating disorder symptoms than nonathletes.
2. Athletes competing in aesthetic sports report more eating disorder than those in nonathleteic sports
(e.g., gymnastics, dance, diving).
3. Athletes do not have a greater drive for thinness than nonathletes.
Eating Disorder and Unhealthy Exercise Behavior
In some cases eating disorders have been linked to potentially unhealthy exercise behavior. Now let us
briefly discuss some of those behaviors and relationships.
Anorexia Analogue Hypothesis
It is hypothesized that male obligatory runners and anorexic females share common personality
characteristics and a common drive for thinness which is through excessive exercise. This is the anorexia
analogue hypothesis. Research provides only partial support of this hypothesis.
Muscle Dysmorphia
Muscle dysmorphia is defined as a preoccupation with the notion that one is not sufficiently muscular.
Individuals classified as being muscle dysmorphic, think constantly about their muscularity and have little
control over compulsive weightlifting and dietary regimens.
Wrestlers Making Weight
The adverse physiological effects of rapid weight loss or "cutting" in preparation for competition are well
documented in the literature. Rapid weight loss results in decreased plasma volume, dehydration, and
hypoglycemia. It also results in a cognitive functioning decrement. Cognitive decrements are noted primarily
in short-term memory and digit span recall. Mood state disturbances are also noted in such people.
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants