Personality, exercise addiction and orthorexia. A research contribution

Sarah Dell'Arte, Vittorio Lenzo


Background: The objectives of the study were to verify the presence of exercise addiction and orthorexia in the population identified, as well as the relationship between these two variables, and to investigate whether alexithymia and impulsivity are personality traits associated with sport addiction or orthorexia.
Methods: The sample, consisting of 140 subjects (between 17 and 52 years old), who practiced bodybuilding, crossfit, calisthenics, powerlifting, or who attended fitness courses, were given: a personal data sheet, the Barrat Impulsiveness Scale-11, the exercise Dependence Scale-Revised, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 and the Bratman Test.
Results: The percentage of subjects with sports addiction is 13% and part of the sample reports symptoms of orthorexia. There is a relationship between exercise addiction and orthorexia, and there are traits of impulsivity and alexithymia in dependent subjects or at risk of addiction. An association was found between alexithymia and impulsivity.
Conclusions: Reading the results, it is clear that the obsession with a healthy lifestyle can manifest itself not only in the food area, but also in the sports field, and that impulsiveness and alexithymia are associated with addiction to sports, probably because this represents a strategy to stem dysregulated emotional states.

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