The link between physical activity and mental health is an interesting one that deserves further exploration. However, the efficacy of physical activity in the prevention of mental health problems, as well as in the treatment of psychological problems once they occur, has historically been based on a number of hypotheses that have yet to be confirmed (William P. Morgan 1997). The purpose of this study was to determine if students who live more active, healthy college lifestyles by participating in both physical and leisure activities are less likely to experience depression. A survey was sent electronically via email to 1468 undergraduate students enrolled for 2010 fall classes at Graceland University, Lamoni, IA campus. The survey consists of 25 questions that total the number of hours spent per week engaging in various forms of physical activity, as well as personal experience with depression. The questions involving physical activity were measured with the options A) 0-1, B) 2-5, C) 6-9, and D) 10+. The rest of the questions were answered with a yes, no, or unsure, aside from questions 1,10, and 11, which had specific answers relating to the question. 138 students completed the survey, 59 subjects reported no personal experience with depression, and 59 reported personally experiencing depression, while 20 subjects chose the answer “unsure.” The initial results of this survey showed to be insignificant with a p-value=0.62 on a Chi-Square test. After removing two conditions that had the least amount of recorded time and doing a T-Test, the p-value raised to p=0.045, thus indicating the results to be scientifically significant, and showed some correlation between physical activities that were participated in and personal experience with depression. Some other interesting discoveries from this research were that anxiety showed to be more likely reported among subjects, and 82.5% (113 subjects) reported feeling better mentally after breaking a sweat.
|Keywords:||Health, Wellness, Physical Activity|
Assistant Professor of Physical Education, Division of Health and Movement Science, Graceland University, Osceola, Iowa, USA
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Student, Health and Movement Science, Graceland University, Osceola, IA, USA