How neuroticism affects exercise addiction?
Secondly, Neuroticism produced a significant positive relationship with exercise addiction, which was consistent with the hypothesis and findings of Hausenblas & Giacobbi’s. Costa and McCrae found that neuroticism traits correlate strongly with negative effects. Individuals with high neuroticism display heightened feelings of anxiety, frustration, jealousy and anger. They also show poor stress reaction and tend to act irrationally in situations. Thus, it is potentially possible that individuals reporting high levels of neuroticism may use exercise to enhance their self-esteem, reduce anxiety and additionally use it as an unstable coping strategy to reduce their stress levels. Neuroticism is robustly associated with many mental disorders, one of which being addiction.
Findings by Khan et al., suggested that there is a strong correlation between neuroticism, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and addiction. Khan et al. also found that neuroticism explained 88% of the comorbidity between addiction and anxiety, a trait which is highly present in neurotic individuals. Therefore, individuals who report high levels of neuroticism may be susceptible to extreme worry and distress over their health, so to reduce their distress, neurotic individuals may exercise excessively to reduce this apprehension. To assist this theory, Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Rooke & Schutte found that higher neuroticism is directly related to psychoactive addiction, which in turn affects the mind. Relating this to Morgan theory of exercise is considered a wonder drug, exercise releases catecholamines, and endorphins which are associated with control, euphoria and positive mood state. Therefore, it is plausible that neurotic exercise addicted individuals may use exercise and sport as a drug, to enhance their state of mind and reduce any fear and worry they may possess.