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Title: Deviant bodies and pathologised subjectivities : a sociological critique of exercise dependence
Author: Biscomb, Kay
Awarding Body: University of Gloucestershire
Current Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Date of Award: 2001
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Exercise dependence is described as " ... psychological and/or physiological dependence upon a regular regime of physical activity ... and is characterised by recognisable withdrawal symptoms when the need to exercise remains unfulfilled after 24-36 hours ... " (Sachs & Pargman, 1979 p. 143). The study of exercise dependence has been a focus for consideration by researchers from the disciplines of physiology and psychology for approximately 30 years. Throughout this time, researchers have sought to measure, treat and prevent exercise dependence. A disease-based model has, therefore, dominated research and an extreme form of exercise behaviour has been medicalised. This study challenges the notion of the disease concept of exercise dependence and offers an alternative conceptualisation based on situation, time (Peele, 1985) and identity. It suggests that this medicalised concept of exercise dependence arises through a process of labelling certain types of participation for which there are only individual societal rewards. In interviews (n=27) with individuals and their significant others over three phases of data collection, life history analysis of the participants' subjective experiences of exercise dependence indicates that there is no evidence of 'negative addiction' (Hailey & Bailey, 1982). There is also no evidence of a negative impact on significant other relationships, although intense commitment to exercise sometimes causes temporary periods of conflict. Significant others accommodate their partners' exercise participation within the relationship and participants accommodate relationship demands within their exercise regime. The analysis also indicates that dependent participants, 'exercisers', have a changing attitude to exercise throughout their life history. It is proposed that the participants in this study construct one element of their self-identity through their exercise participation and that is subdivided into the physical self, the critical self and the social sel£ The thesis offers nine Propositions in an attempt to establish the basis for a sociological understanding of exercise dependence.
Supervisor: Brackenridge, Celia ; Kerton, Vic Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; GV557 Sports