Date of Award
Honors College Thesis
Craig A. Warlick, Ph.D.
This study assesses the relationships among exercise frequency, exercise intensity, and exercise type on four mental health variables of depression, anxiety, satisfaction with life, and flourishing. Participants include a sample of non-collegiate adults residing in or claiming citizenship of the United States. Participants provided survey data via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. To assess exercise, two measures were employed to distinguish duration only and duration combined with intensity, while a third was used to assess exercise type. After analyses were conducted on these variables, mixed results were found. Within the duration-focused measure of exercise, it was shown that participants who engaged in the highest levels of exercise had significantly improved mental health on multiple variables than those who were in the lowest levels of exercise. For the duration and intensity combined measure, no significant differences existed in pathology-focused measures, but it was found that for those who engaged in higher categories of exercise, overall well-being improved as compared to those in lower categories. Within the exercise type measure, again, significant differences were found between those who engaged in aerobic exercise as compared to those who engaged in non-aerobic focused activities, with those in the aerobic groups reporting lower levels of depression and anxiety. This study revealed that exercise is a multifaceted activity encompassing both duration and intensity and needs to be further explored to best understand the levels of how much and how intense of exercise is most beneficial for mental health. Recommendations for researchers and clinicians are provided.
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Bourne, Robert A., "Exercise and Mental Health Within a National Population" (2023). Honors Theses. 930.
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