Home Magazines Editors-in-Chief FAQs Contact Us

Physical activity and sedentary behaviors and the impact on college student’s stress, depression, and anxiety

MOJ Sports Medicine
Karly S Geller, Angelo M Capito, Zachary T Marsh 


University students are at a significant risk for mental health issues, including stress and depression. Negative mental health among college-aged adults continues to rise, impacting students’ cognitive function, academic performance, social development, and overall wellbeing. Rather than offering support through medication, physical activity has demonstrated a potential behavioral approach to reduce students’ stress and anxiety. The current study examined the influence of young adults’ physical activity and sedentary behavior levels and their self-reported stress, depression, and psychological well-being. Participants were undergraduate and graduate students recruited from a Midwestern university and a Mid-Southern university. Multiple linear regressions estimated mean differences in participants’ self-reported stress, depression, and psychological well-being based on their physical activity levels and sitting minutes. Moderate levels of physical activity improved participants’ growth psychological well-being (p = .01). Vigorous physical activity had an effect on participants’ relations, purpose, and self-acceptance (p<0.05). Daily sitting minutes significantly affected participants’ stress, perceived stress, depression, and environmental psychological wellness (p<0.05). Results demonstrate how physical activity can be a natural medicine for symptoms of stress and depression. Current outcomes support the development of future programs to prevent and react to mental health via physical activity


physical activity, sedentary behavior, young adults, psychological well-being