Physical activity and mental health in a student population

Philip Tyson, Kelly Wilson, Diane Crone, Richard Brailsford, Keith R. Laws

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    BACKGROUND: A growing body of literature indicates that physical activity can have beneficial effects on mental health. However, previous research has mainly focussed on clinical populations, and little is known about the psychological effects of physical activity in those without clinically defined disorders.

    AIMS: The present study investigates the association between physical activity and mental health in an undergraduate university population based in the United Kingdom.

    METHOD: One hundred students completed questionnaires measuring their levels of anxiety and depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and their physical activity regime using the Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ).

    RESULTS: Significant differences were observed between the low, medium and high exercise groups on the mental health scales, indicating better mental health for those who engage in more exercise.

    CONCLUSIONS: Engagement in physical activity can be an important contributory factor in the mental health of undergraduate students.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)492-9
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Mental Health
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • Adult
    • Analysis of Variance
    • Anxiety Disorders
    • Cohort Studies
    • Depressive Disorder
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Mental Disorders
    • Mental Health
    • Motor Activity
    • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
    • Students
    • Surveys and Questionnaires
    • United Kingdom
    • Young Adult


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