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Stress reduction as a link between aerobic activity and academic performance experienced by undergraduate women through the use of the Student Recreation Center at Texas A&M University

by Brennan, Martha

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between aerobic activity and academic performance through stress reduction using a student recreational facility. Research indicated that learning in college tends to focus on the academic aspects of the undergraduate experience - the classroom, laboratory, and the library - not other factors potentially affecting academic performance (Kuh et al., 1991). Forty women were randomly selected from the undergraduate population at Texas A&M University in order to analyze the relationship between aerobic activity and academic performance by measuring perceived stress levels. All participants completed an on-line stress questionnaire, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), every three weeks. Exam scores from an introductory sociology course and an educational statistics course were used for data analysis also. The experimental group (exercise group) used twelve weeks of regular aerobic exercise, while the control group (non-exercise) remained sedentary. During the twelve-week period, all participants self-reported data for additional qualitative data. Research findings of this study included: 1. The main benefit from aerobic activity was that women who exercised regularly felt more positive about academics and non-academic activities than women who did not exercise regularly. 2. There was no statistical significant difference between exam scores and academic performance of women who exercised regularly and those who did not exercise regularly. 3. There was no statistical significant difference between stress levels of women who exercised regularly and women who did not exercise regularly. Based on the findings of the study, researcher recommendations include: 1. Continue to investigate the changing demographics of college students - namely, age, sex, and non-traditional students. This study was limited to fulltime women between the ages of 18-24. Men and part-time students need to be included in a comparable study, providing campuses with more data that reflects the entire student population. 2. Explore additional areas in sociology and psychology that address exercise behavior trends in college students. Results from this study indicated that there are many variables, including stress, that affect college students in the behavioral sciences that can be attributed to differences in physical activity between sedentary and non-sedentary people. 3. Analyze health factors, which include amount of exercise, nutrition, and sleep patterns.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Hoyle, John; Hall, Bob; Stanley, Christine A.; Stark, Stephen L.

School:Texas A&M University

School Location:USA - Texas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:stress academic performance aerobic activity recreation

ISBN:

Date of Publication:05/01/2003

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