Regan M. Walker1, & Melissa D. Powers1

University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma

Physical activity not only has direct links to lower risk of chronic health conditions, but the ability to better cope with stress. The mental wellness of college students has become a prominent topic in public health. The ability to cope with stress in one’s life, especially during the pursuit of higher education, is a relevant topic. PURPOSE: The purpose of this project was to study the relationship between the volume of physical activity and perceived stress among college students. METHODS: In this study 157 college students (70.7% female) completed an online survey that included the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and demographic questions. The IPAQ gives a measure of weekly volume of vigorous-intensity physical activity (VPA), moderate-intensity physical activity (MPA), walking physical activity (WPA), and total physical activity (TPA; the sum of VPA, MPA and WPA). The PSS is a validated instrument for assessing perceived stress that includes 10 items with a range of scores from 0-40. Pearson correlation coefficients were conducted to analyze the relationships between physical activity variables and PSS. The results were further analyzed by calculating a categorical variable of physical activity from the IPAQ scores to create three groups: Inactive (< 600 METmin/wk; n = 33), Active (600-2,999 METmin/wk; n = 45), and Highly Active (> 3,000 METmin/wk; n = 79). A One-Way ANOVA was conducted to determine if PSS was different between the groups. RESULTS: The mean PSS score was 20.63±7.77. The mean values for physical activity were 1,542.56±2,189.51 for VPA, 804.68±1,216.11 for MPA, 1,333.43±1,544.23 for WPA, and 3,680.68±3,199.05 for TPA. The correlations between PSS and VPA (r = -.039, p > .05), MPA (r = - .045, p > .05), WPA (r = -.021, p > .05) and TPA (r = -.056, p > .05) were all negative and non-significant. Similarly, there was not a significant difference in PSS between the three physical activity groups, F(2,156) = 0.029, p > .05. CONCLUSIONS: The results from this study indicate that perceived stress is not correlated with volume of physical activity as assessed by the IPAQ, nor is it different between categories of physical activity.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Supported by the University of Central Oklahoma Office of High Impact Practices

This document is currently not available here.