Download Full Text (638 KB)


The literature shows an inverse association between exercise and mental disorders. The aim of this study is to further elaborate on this association with regards to exercise and its relationship with anxiety and depression in a college sample. The subject group focused on seniors in the Spit for Science data set which incorporated a total of 821 students. Physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) to estimate the overall metabolic equivalents (MET’s) each student spent in walking, moderate, or vigorous activity levels in the previous week. Sum scores were used to measure depression and anxiety. Overall,the data showed that students 124 students had a walking or low activity level, 255 had a moderate activity level, and 442 had a vigorous or high activity level. There is a significant mean difference in anxiety and depression sum scores between moderate compared to vigorous and moderate compared to low exercise classifications, however no significant mean differences were found between vigorous compared to low exercise groups. Tests showed the correlation between overall MET’s per week compared to anxiety and depression was significant, with an inverse association between the two. This inverse relationship showed that as the overall MET’s increased, the sum score of depression and anxiety both decrease and vice versa. Regression analyses are underway, and covariates are being assessed, for further analyses to determine the relationship between exercise and depression and anxiety. The results of this study can lead to understanding the link between how much exercise is needed to derive a mental benefit as well as where the threshold amount of exercise needed to reverse detrimental effects of inactivity is.

Publication Date



physical activity, exercise, depression, anxiety, students, spit for science, cobe, ipaq, vcu, health, psychology, science


Categorical Data Analysis | Exercise Science | Health Psychology | Mental Disorders | Multivariate Analysis | Psychiatric and Mental Health

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Amy Adkins


© The Author(s)

Recommended Citation

-Facts & Statistics. (2014, September). Retrieved from -Depression. (2016, February 3). Retrieved from -Arnone, D., Job, D., Selvaraj, S. et al. (2016, February 8). Computational meta-analysis of statistical parametric maps in major depression. Retrieved from -He, Y., Xu, T., Zhang, W., Zuo, X. (2016, March). Lifespan anxiety is reflected in human amygdala cortical connectivity. Retrieved from -Trivino-Paredes, J., Patten, A., Gil-Mohapel, J., Christie, B. (2016). The effects of hormones and physical exercise on hippocampal structural plasticity. Retrieved from!/content/playContent/1-s2.0-S0091302216300097?returnurl=null&referrer=null. -Derogatis, L., Cleary, P. (October, 1977). Confirmation of the dimensional structure of the SCL-90: A study in the construct validation. Retrieved from -Craig, C., Marshall, A., Sjostrom, M., et al. (2003, January) International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity. Retrieved from -Jette, M., Sidney, K., Blumchen, G. (1990, August). Metabolic equivalents in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity. Retrieved from

The Relationship Between Exercise and Depression and Anxiety in College Students