Capstone Thesis Project

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The Relationship between Physical Activity, Stress, and Academic Performance

Capstone Thesis

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

Introduction

College years are known as a time of change and transition between adolescence and adulthood. The freedom that a student experiences in college also comes with a lot of responsibility, which in turn puts a lot of stress on the student. One of these responsibilities relates to academic performance and advancement. Academic performance in college is very important and should be rendered as a priority in every student’s life. Stress is something that every college student will have to deal with, while there are many ways to deal with stress some college students either choose to relieve stress in healthy ways or not in very healthy ways.

It has been proven time and time again that exercise is a great way to deal with stress.[i] Exercise not only improves physical health, but studies show that it can improve cognitive function and mental health of the body. With the many opportunities for physical activity on the college campus, many students do take advantage of this as a vicarious benefit to help deal with stress and improve their academic performance.

Purpose

The purpose of the study was to determine if physical activity levels are associated with stress level, and academic performance in college-aged students. Self-report surveys reveal that physical activity levels declined dramatically after adolescence in college-aged students.[ii] In addition to the chronic disease risks associated with physical inactivity, it is possible that physical inactivity also may be related to high stress levels and poor academic performance among college students. In contrast, students who continue to be physically activity while attending college may experience beneficial effects in these areas. This study investigated the relationship between physical activity, stress, and academic performance among college students in order to better understand possible factors that could affect academic success. These variables were measured using self-reported surveys. It is important to study physical activity patterns in college- aged students because if higher levels of physical activity are found to be associated with reduce stress levels and improve academic performance, increased physical activity levels should be recommended to all students as a factor that may contribute to academic success.

Research Questions

The research questions for this study include:

1) Is physical activity level related to stress levels among college students?

2) Is physical activity level related to academic performance among college students?

3) Is there a relationship between stress and academic performance among college students?

Hypotheses

Research Question 1: Is physical activity level related to stress levels among college students?

HR: Higher levels of physical activity levels have an inverse relationship to stress levels.

H0: There is no relationship between physical activity levels and stress levels.

Research Question 2: Is physical activity level related to academic performance among college students?

HR: High levels of physical activity have a direct relationship to academic performance among college students.

H0: There is no relationship between physical activity levels and academic performance.

Research Question 3: Is there a relationship between stress and academic performance among college students?

HR: Low levels of stress have a positive relationship on academic performance among college students.

H0: There is no relationship between stress and academic performance.

Significance of the Study

The significance of the study was to determine how physical activity could have an impact on relieving stress and improving academic performance. However, stress was a factor that leads to poor academic performance....
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