Other directedness and impaired limits: The impact of early maladaptive schema on exercise dependence

Rebekah M. Rankin, Paul A. Read, Benjamin R. Walker, Paul Rankin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


While a sedentary lifestyle is a one of the most pressing health concern in western society, there appears to be a minority of
individuals who exercise compulsively and in excess. Relatively little research has examined the factors leading exercise to
transition from a healthy and sociable habit to one that is potentially pathological, addictive, and physically damaging. The present
study examined the possible impact of early maladaptive schema (EMS) and implicit self-esteem on exercise dependence (EXD) in
a cohort of Australian cyclists. A total of 136 cyclists completed the Young Schema Questionnaire Short-Form Revised, Self-esteem
Implicit Association Test and Exercise Dependence Scale Revised to assess EMS, implicit self-esteem and for EXD symptomology.
Early maladaptive schema, specifically the domains Bother directedness^ and Bimpaired limits^, accounted for a significant proportion of the variability in self-reported EXD symptomology. Additionally, a significant proportion of this cohort exhibited EXD
symptomology irrespective of socio-demographic characteristics. These findings indicate that individuals who have an excessive
external focus on the desires and needs of others, and/or are unable to set appropriate internal limits, may be at higher risk of
developing EXD symptomology than individuals with lower levels of specific EMS. Therefore, understanding the relationship
between EMS and EXD may aid in understanding the etiology of EXD and the development of intervention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Jan 2019


  • Exercise dependence
  • early maladaptive schema
  • implicit self-esteem
  • cyclists

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