Life-style, Recreation, Exercise: Exercise Addiction and Other Behavioral Dysfunctions in Physical Activity



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The purpose of this course is to examine in depth the psychological antecedents, everyday manifestations, and consequences of exaggerated exercise behavior. The various components of this morbid, or at least dysfunctional, exercise will be specifically discussed to form the infrastructure of a thorough personally-oriented research project in the field, which will be the main learning outcome in the course. The topics selected by the students could be either theoretically or experimentally approached -, and they include all aspects related to exercise addiction. For example, the PhD candidate can perform a literature review – that can be systematic or in form of a meta analysis – on the personality research carried out in context of exercise addiction. She or he may investigate separately the primary and secondary forms of exercise addiction, or combine them, depending on the extent of the available scholastic literature on the selected sub-topic to be investigated by the student. Alternately, the student can carry out a research project comprising data collection, that can be correlational and / or cross-sectional, survey or interview based, paper and pencil format or online (Internet), providing that she or he obtains format ethical clearance from the Faculty’s Research Ethics Committee.
The application for ethical permission in English can be obtained from here: permission_201511181.docx
The research project should involve a relatively short data-collection period (i. e., not exceeding four (4) weeks) to enable the student to analyze the data and the write up the research report within one half of the academic year. Please note that this is a practical course that requires substantial individual and directed work. The formal tuition is based on individual or group consultations, depending on the number of students involved. In the latter case, every student’s academic project will be jointly discussed and the views and opinions of the others – along with that of the course facilitator (Lecturer) – may be taken into consideration for realizing a state of the art report, which may be even considered for submission for publication. The tutor will assist all those students who wish to submit their work for publication, given that the work meets the minimum requirement for publication in a scholastic and peer-reviewed journal. Under all the circumstances the student will be the first author of such publication(s) and depending on the input of the tutor (in this case who also becomes a supervisor and / or consultant), he or she may become second author. If more people are involved (i. e., another fellow student, researcher or tutor) the order of authorship will be determined on the basis of the international rules and regulations of authorship formation, with the candidate student retaining the unquestionable and guaranteed right for the first authorship in all instances, unless she / he renounces this right because of unwillingness, or the inability, to carry out the major work in relation to the drafting of the manuscript or any other aspects (i. e. data analyses, et.). While there are no specific pre-assigned or pre-envisaged mandatory readings in this course, substantial compulsory reading will surface during the choice of the specific sub-topic in exercise addiction to be examined by the individual students. Therefore, while some general references may be useful, and are provided in the reading list below, the actual readings will be suited to the individual needs of the students taking the course.

Grading will be based on:

  • the depth of the knowledge acquired (and critically evaluated) in the area of exercise addiction,
  • the industriousness and independent work showed by the student, and
  • by the quality of the report produced for the end of the course.
  • Kerr, J. H., Lindner, K. J., & Blaydon, M. (2007). Exercise dependence. London: Routledge. (online access)
  • Peele, S., & Brodsky, A. (1992). Truth about addiction and recovery. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Schreiber, K., & Hausenblas, H. A. (2015). The Truth about Exercise Addiction: Understanding the Dark Side of Thinspiration. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Szabo, A. (2010). Addiction to exercise: A symptom or a disorder?. New York: Nova Science.