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Undergraduate Physical Activity and Depressive Symptoms: A National Study

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Objective: To study the effects of college students' physical activity and gender on depressive and suicidal symptoms. Method: The National College Health Assessment survey was administered to college students nationwide. Data were analyzed with 4x2 ANOVAs and Games-Howell post hoc tests when appropriate. Results: More frequent physical activity related to less frequent depressive symptoms and consideration of suicide, but not with attempted suicide. Males reported depressive symptoms less frequently than did females. Conclusion: Depression research has implications for an increasingly sedentary college population. Institutions should provide increased access and knowledge pertaining to emotional health and psychological benefits through physical activity.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA. 2: Assistant Department Head, Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA 3: Professor Emeritus, Education and Human Development, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA 4: Associate Professor, School of Education, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA 5: Instructor, Health Promotion, Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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