Beliefs about exercise: Relationship to eating psychopathology and core beliefs among young female exercisers

C. Meyer, J. Blissett, R. Alberry, A. Sykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



This study had two objectives. First, to determine links between levels of eating psychopathology and beliefs about exercise among young women. Second, to determine the predictive effects of unhealthy core beliefs on exercise beliefs.


A convenience sample of 185 young female exercisers completed the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI), the Exercise Beliefs Questionnaire (EBQ) and the Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ).


The participants' mean scores on the EDI were as follows: drive for thinness = 0.69 (SD = 0.82); body dissatisfaction = 1.30 (SD = 0.86); and bulimia = 0.33 (SD = 0.42). There were significant, positive correlations of all three EDI scales with EBQ social and EBQ appearance subscales. In addition, YSQ Defectiveness/Shame beliefs predicted EBQ social scores, while YSQ Unrelenting Standards predicted EBQ appearance scores.


Those women with relatively unhealthy eating attitudes are likely to believe that exercise will prevent negative social consequences, and are likely to be motivated to exercise in order to preserve or enhance their physical appearance. These same types of exercise belief (regarding social consequences and appearance) are predicted by feelings of defectiveness and shame and by unrelenting high personal standards.


► Appearance- and social-related exercise beliefs are linked with eating pathology. ► These exercise beliefs are predicted by defectiveness/shame and unrelenting standards. ► Therapeutic interventions should aim to reduce pathological cognitions about exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-82
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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