AN EXAMINATION INTO THE IMPACT OF PHYSICAL FITNESS ON CONSTITUENT BEHAVIORS UNDERLYING ACADEMIC AND PSYCHOSOCIAL OUTCOMES: A PILOT STUDY

Open Access
Author:
Forsythe, Philip
Area of Honors:
Kinesiology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Melissa Bopp, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mary Jane De Souza, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • college
  • physical activity
  • academic outcomes
  • psychosocial outcomes
  • physical activity classes
  • students
Abstract:
Physical activity has been associated with numerous benefits related to health status, chronic disease, and mental illnesses. Exercise provides protective effects against the onset of high mortality diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and depression. Additionally, exercise may provide additional benefits to academic achievement and psychosocial outcomes. College students are remaining largely inactive despite access to recreation centers and gyms through their campuses. The purpose of this study was to identify if physical activity held associations with the specific constituent behaviors underlying academic and psychosocial success in college students. Objective health and fitness markers were performed as part of their undergraduate physical activity classes, and they were asked to take part in a behavioral survey analyzing academic and psychosocial behaviors, perceptions towards exercise’s benefits, and exercise scheduling efficacy. Data was analyzed by SPSS software, where t-tests and correlations were set at p<0.05. Significant differences in VPA were found in those reporting academics rarely interfered with ability to exercise, exercise affected their satisfaction with the day, and exercise affected motivation towards academics. Students engaging in positive academic behaviors such as attending help or office hour sessions reported greater scheduling efficacy for exercise. This experiment served as an exploratory study to determine if relationships existed between PA and these underlying behaviors of successful academic and psychosocial outcomes. Future studies with a greater sample size and more objective measurements of PA could potentially find more significant differences between these underlying behaviors and PA.