King's College London

Research portal

Athletic identity, compulsive exercise and eating psychopathology in long-distance runners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Robert Turton, Huw Goodwin, Caroline Meyer

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-132
Number of pages4
JournalEating Behaviors
Early online date8 Mar 2017
Accepted/In press7 Mar 2017
E-pub ahead of print8 Mar 2017
PublishedAug 2017


King's Authors


Abstract Having a high athletic identity is thought to increase vulnerability for compulsive exercise and Eating Disorder (ED) psychopathology. This study examined whether there is an association between athletic identity and levels of compulsive exercise and ED psychopathology in long-distance runners. A sample of 501 long-distance runners completed the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), Compulsive Exercise Test (CET) and Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire (EDEQ). There was a significant positive association between participants' AIMS and total CET scores (moderate effect size; r = 0.34 for males and 0.33 for females). BMI did not influence the relationship between AIMS and CET scores in males. However, for females, AIMS scores were positively associated with levels of Weight Control Exercise when covarying for BMI (small to moderate effect size, r = 0.22). No significant associations with EDEQ scores were found (negligible to small effect sizes; r = 0.06 for males and r = 0.14 for females). Following replication, coaches might need to be vigilant to the welfare of endurance runners that have a strong athletic identity, since this could be linked to them exercising compulsively. Future work should examine whether having a strong athletic identity predicts ED psychopathology when this identity is challenged (e.g., due to injury).

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454