We conducted four studies to examine the relationship between over-exercise and suicidality. Study 1 investigated whether over-exercise predicted suicidal behavior after controlling for other eating disorder behaviors in a patient sample of 204 women (144 with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) Bulimia Nervosa [BN]). Study 2 tested the prospective association between over-exercise and acquired capability for suicide (ACS) in a sample of 171 college students followed for 3-4 weeks. Study 3 investigated whether pain insensitivity accounted for the relationship between over-exercise and ACS in a new sample of 467 college students. Study 4 tested whether ACS accounted for the relationship between over-exercise and suicidal behavior in a sample of 512 college students. In Study 1, after controlling for key covariates, over-exercise was the only disordered eating variable that maintained a significant relationship with suicidal behavior. In Study 2, Time 1 over-exercise was the only disordered eating behavior that was associated with Time 2 ACS. In Study 3, pain insensitivity accounted for the relationship between over-exercise and ACS. In Study 4, ACS accounted for the relationship between over-exercise and suicidal behavior. Over-exercise appears to be associated with suicidal behavior, an association accounted for by pain insensitivity and the acquired capability for suicide; notably, this association was found across a series of four studies with different populations.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.