Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 102 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Drew A Anderson

Committee Members

James F Boswell, Erin E Reilly


anxiety, compulsive exercise, eating disoders, exercise, intolerance of uncertainty, Exercise addiction, Uncertainty

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology


Compulsive exercise is poorly understood and difficult to treat. Overlap between definitions of compulsive exercise, eating disorders and OCD suggests that conceptualizations of these disorders may include shared underlying mechanisms, including intolerance of uncertainty. Although intolerance of uncertainty is traditionally conceptualized as a non-specific construct representing an individual’s dispositional distress in the face of general uncertainty, identifying specific forms of intolerance of uncertainty may further assist in understanding the specific factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of problematic behaviors, including compulsive exercise. The current study aimed to develop an assessment instrument that captures exercise-specific variations in intolerance of uncertainty and to examine associations between specific forms of exercise-related intolerance of uncertainty and compulsive exercise. We refined a preliminary list of items for the ESIUS through cognitive interviews with regular exercisers, including experts in the field of eating and exercise pathology and conducted quantitative analysis of items using classical test theory and item response theory. The final ESIUS included ten factors representing intolerance of uncertainty about attaining different exercise goals and an overall total factor and demonstrated strong psychometric properties in the current sample. Findings from this study also supported the importance of exercise-specific intolerance of uncertainty in determining compulsive above and beyond non-specific intolerance of uncertainty. Results support the use of the ESIUS as a measure of exercise-specific intolerance of uncertainty and suggest the specific forms of intolerance of uncertainty may components of conceptual models of compulsive exercise and that it may represent a promising treatment target.