Perceived stress, exercise habits, and exercise addiction in Israeli army reserves: A pilot study

Amit Pinto, Mark D. Griffiths, Aviv Weinstein, Zsolt Demetrovics, Attila Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Being an army reservist involves stress and uncertainty. While some individuals use exercise to cope with stress, no previous research has ever studied the relationship between army reservists exercise habits and perceived stress. The current study examined the hypothesis that Israeli army reserves in combat roles would report greater perceived stress and (to cope with the stress) exhibit more intensive exercise habits, as well as higher risk for exercise addiction, than the army reserves who are in a non-combat (i.e., office job) role and controls who are not in the army reserve. Participants (n = 277) completed questionnaires assessing their regular exercises habits, perceived stress, and risk for exercise addiction. The results showed that combat reserves scored higher on all dependent measures than non-combat reserves and controls. Perceived stress accounted for 38.8% to 56.6% of the variance in the risk of exercise addiction. Findings suggest that Israeli army reserves in combat role exercise more, for longer episodes, with greater reported intensity, and are at a greater risk for exercise addiction than the reserves in non-combat roles and controls. The higher risk for exercise addiction in the combat reserves, accompanied by a lower predictive power of the perceived stress, reflects a weaker association between these two variables in this group, most likely because combat reserves feel obliged to be physically fit in case of active deployment. This is the first study to show that differences in reservists’ roles is associated with different levels of risk for exercise addiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalMilitary Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2019


  • Army exercise
  • chronic stress
  • exercise addiction
  • exercise dependence
  • military exercise
  • soldier exercise

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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