The majority of research today shows how there are positive benefits from exercise on mental and physical health. Generally, these benefits include improved self-esteem and improved mood changes through aerobic exercise. With an increase in mental health disorders among college students, research on the negative effects of exercise-related on mental health disorders is limited. Within the research on the negative outcomes related to exercise, much of the literature focuses on anxiety and depression related to body image (i.e., striving to attain an unrealistic body portrayed within social media). In the current study, we focus on the relationship between self-reported symptoms of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, negative body image, and forms of exercise. More specifically, we address the relationship between forms of exercise, such as strength training and yoga, and their relationship to symptoms of mental health disorders. This study looks to add to existing research by surveying college students on certain mental health disorder traits and the relationship they have with their current exercise habits. In the current study, females were more likely to be unhappy with their bodies and had higher self-reported anxiety and depression scores. Our results also showed those who participated in weight training reported higher in participation for the health benefits from exercise. We also found those who participated in cardiovascular or endurance training also reported greater health benefits from exercise.
Student Author Biography
Kayla Knowlton recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Florida Southern College. She was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Kayla was a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the first ever Fitness Supervisor at the Nina B. Hollis Wellness. Additionally, Kayla was a member of the Florida Southern Women’s Track and Field team. As an undergraduate student, Kayla became interested in numerous areas of research within the exercise science and sociology. Kayla will continue on to Indiana State University where she will be pursuing her Masters of Exercise Science with a focus on research, strength and conditioning, and sports performance. Chastity Blankenship earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Central Florida in 2011. Currently, Dr. Blankenship is an Assistant Professor of Social Science in the Department of Criminology at Florida Southern College. Dr. Blankenship is also the Chair for the Women and Gender Studies Minor at her institution. She has a variety of research area interests, which broadly include issues related to social inequality.
knowlton, Kayla and Blankenship, Chastity L.
"An Investigation of the Relationship between Mental Health Disorders, Body Image Perceptions, and Form of Exercise among College-Aged Students,"
Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 8
, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/vol8/iss1/10