Article Title



Kristin M. Garner1, Bryce T. Daniels2, Jordan Stroope1, Jessica Passarelli1, Max Brigance1 and Erin K. Howie Hickey1

1University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

2Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL

Many university students are experiencing poor physical and psychological health. Thus, universities are initiating programs such as Exercise is Medicine-On Campus (EIM-OC) to promote positive physical activity behavior to improve physical and mental health for undergraduate and graduate students. However, the influences on physical activity when transitioning from an undergraduate to a graduate student need to be more established. PURPOSE: To explore perceptions of if and how the physical activity levels of graduate students changed from their time as undergraduate students while considering environmental and lifestyle factors. METHODS: Using a qualitative, phenomenological research design, a convenience sample of current graduate students enrolled at a large, mid-South university completed a 20-minute interview. Questions included inquiring on current household, occupational, active transportation, leisure time, and overall physical activity during the graduate and past undergraduate programs. All interviews were transcribed, and major themes were derived from thematic analysis. RESULTS: 21 (62% female; 52% master’s students) participants completed interviews. Overall, participants perceived their physical activity decreased. Table 1 demonstrates the major themes and supporting quotes for each question topic. CONCLUSION: Students perceived that the transition from undergrad to grad programs is accompanied by reduced occupational, active transport, and leisure-time physical activity. Participants reported having more sedentary occupations in their current graduate program than in their undergraduate program. The decline in physical activity once individuals enter their graduate program necessitates an intervention, like EIM-OC, during or after undergraduate studies to promote the initiation or continuation of regular physical activity to improve graduate students’ overall health.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This study was made possible by the University of Arkansas Honors College.

This document is currently not available here.