Disordered eating and exercise: development and preliminary validation of the compulsive exercise test (CET)

Eur Eat Disord Rev. May-Jun 2011;19(3):256-68. doi: 10.1002/erv.1108.


Objective: The Compulsive Exercise Test (CET) was developed to assess the primary factors operating in the maintenance of excessive exercise.

Methods: A total of 367 young female exercisers were recruited from University campuses. Across three separate studies, the participants completed either the CET alone, or the CET and other standard self-report measures of excessive exercise and eating psychopathology.

Results: Factor analyses yielded five factors from which a final 24-item, five subscale measure was constructed. The CET demonstrated high internal consistency across the three samples. Supporting the concurrent and convergent validity of the scale, the CET correlated in the expected direction with existing measures of excessive exercise and eating pathology. As expected, the CET explained greater variance in eating pathology than existing measures of excessive exercise.

Discussion: The resulting subscales of the CET are consistent with a cognitive-behavioural maintenance model of excessive exercise and support the multidimensionality of the excessive exercise construct. Further research is required to validate the instrument within a sample of eating disordered women.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Compulsive Behavior / diagnosis*
  • Compulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires