Exercise dependence: Associations with capability for suicide and past suicidal behavior
Rogers, M.L., Duffy, M.E., Buchman-Schmitt, J.M., Datoc, A.E., & Joiner, T.E.
Exercise dependence has been linked to capability for suicide and suicidal behavior; however, less understood are which facets of exercise dependence confer risk for suicidal behavior and the potential mechanisms of this association. This study examined relationships between exercise dependence, capability for suicide, and past suicidal behavior.
A sample of 540 individuals recruited via MTurk completed online measures of their exercise dependence, capability for suicide, and history of suicidal behavior.
Suicide attempters reported higher levels of continuance in exercise despite physical or psychological consequences, lack of control over exercise, and reductions in other activities due to exercise than nonattempters. Capability for suicide accounted for the relationship between continuance in exercise despite adverse consequences and lifetime number of suicide attempts.
When exercise becomes pathological in the form of exercise dependence, steps should be taken to reduce such engagement due to its observed association with suicidal behavior.