The Michigan Daily-Thursday, February 3, 1983-Page 7
Runners, dieters share disorder
BOSTON (AP) - Men who are obsessed with long-
distance running may suffer from the same per-
sonality disorder as women who starve themselves
with incessant dieting, a study concludes.
Unlike most recreational runners, some
marathoners develop a single-minded commitment
to keeping in physical shape. These "obligatory run-
ners" may cover 100 miles a week, and for them,
"running becomes a consuming goal that pre-empts
all other interests in life," the researchers said.
THE COMPARISON of runners and dieters was
made by Drs. Alayne Yates, Kevin Leehey and
Catherine Shisslak, all runers who are members of
the psychiatry department at the University of
Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson. Their fin-
dings were published in today's New England Jour-
nal of Medicine.
They interviewed 60 of these long-distance runners
and found many similarities with women who have
anorexia nervosa, a disorder in which people become
dangerously thin because of dieting.
"The two groups may represent a single mode of
behavior," the doctors wrote.
GENERALLY, THE researchers said, obligatory
runners value their exercise above all else. They will
run in spite of injuries such as fractures, or illness
such as heart disease, when the exercise may be bad
"Such unreasonable dedication has resulted in
permanent disability or even death," the researchers
When for some reason obligatory runners cannot
run, they feel anxious and depressed about physical
THE ANOREXIC, on the other hand, seeks
physical attractiveness. "She is the elite among
dieters, often receiving compliments for her waspish
waist and translucent skin," the researchers wrote.
"External appearance becomes an all-consuming in-
terest; dieting is her life."
No loss of weight is ever enough, and "she may
eventually die in the service of her impossible
The researchers noted that both long-distance run-
ning and anorexia have become common since the
early 1970s. But while anorexia is considered a
sickness, people who are consumed by running are
generally thought of as dedicated athletes.
THE DOCTORS found these similarities between
obsessive runners and dieters.:
m "The typical obligatory runner is a diet-conscious
man, whereas the typical anorexic is an exercise-
" Both are hard-working, high achievers from af-
" Both appear introverted on psychological exams
and are bothered by depression.
" Both seem "to be compliant, self-effacing and un-
comfortable with the direct expression of anger."
" Both say their pursuits give them an emotional
The doctors said both kinds of behavior may result
from similar identity crises. Both often begin in times
of personal change and self-doubt.
"The gender variance may be accounted for by the
fact that our culture values women for their beauty
and men for their athletic prowess," they said.
IT'S NOT TOO LATE!
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Couple held for arson
(Continued from Page 3);
Ms. Dietrich disagreed.'
"THEY WERE friends of ours," she
said yesterday, choking back tears
during a telephone interview from a
Santa Ana motel. "I've known them for'
a couple of years. Our husbands work
together - that's how I met Marsha."
Ms. Dietrich, 40, said she, Lamar and
her son by a previous marriage,
Richard Lively, 17, "barely made it
out" after Lively heard a smoke alarm
and woke them up.
Neither she nor Lamar would talk
about the possibility that their spouses
might have wanted them dead.
"I LOVE MY husband very much,"
she said. Although he had asked for a
divorce, "I was thinking he might
come to his senses. Up until the day he
left me, it was great."
"I knew something was wrong. It
didn't come as a surprise," Lamar, 33,
said of his wife's request that he move
out early last December. A week later
she asked for a divorce; by Christmas,
she had moved in with Wagster at the
Highcrest Circle house.
In early January, Lamar moved back
in to complete the lease, which he alone
After he moved back in, he rented a
room to Ms. Dietrich and her son, but
she said there was no romance between
UNTIL FEB. 14, 1983
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The Writers-in -Residence Program at the Residential College
Presents a Reading by
Author of Books for Young Adults and
Executive Director of the Children's Book Council
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
8 PM IN THE BENZINGER LIBRARY
(East Quad-East University between Hill & Willard)
A Reception for Mr. Donovan will follow the reading
Mr. Donovan will be the speaker at the bookes for
lunch meeting on February 8 at noon at the Ann
Arbor Public Library.
Mr. Donovan will be the guest at the Hopwood Tea,
Thursday, February 10 at 3:30 PM, the Hopwood
Room, 1006 Angell Hall.
THE PUBLIC IS CORDIALL Y INVITED TO ALL EVENTS
The Writers-in-Residence program at the Residential College is made possible
in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.