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Quantifying the Impact of Physical Activity on Stress Tolerance in College Students
College Student Journal
  • Helen W. Bland, Georgia Southern University
  • Bridget F. Melton, Georgia Southern University
  • Lauren Bigham, Georgia Southern University
  • Paul D. Welle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Problem: Stress experience by millennial college students can be crippling. While stress is a universal and unavoidable phenomenon for college students, the variance in ability to handle stress can be attributed to stress tolerance (Welle & Graf, 2011). Research is needed to identify effective tools that increase college students' ability to tolerate and positively cope with stress.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to quantify the impact of physical activity associated behaviors and exercise types significantly associated with high stress tolerance (HST) among college students.

Methods: Research design employed was an quantitative, analytical, cross-sectional study of randomly selected college students (N=936) that completed a stress tolerance questionnaire (STQ) coupled with a physical activity log. Statistical differences by type of physical activity and stress tolerance were determined by Chi-Square and Odds Ratio (95%CI).

Results: Significant physical activity behaviors associated with HST included: exercised (p=0.001), engaged in leisure activity (p=0.004), engaged in extra-curricular activity (p=0.012), and engaged in extra-curricular sport (p=0.039). Three out of four types exercise were significantly associated with HST: vigorous exercise, stretching, and resistance training (p<0.05).

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the positive protective impact of physical activity behaviors and exercise on stress tolerance among college students.

Citation Information
Helen W. Bland, Bridget F. Melton, Lauren Bigham and Paul D. Welle. "Quantifying the Impact of Physical Activity on Stress Tolerance in College Students" College Student Journal Vol. 48 Iss. 4 (2014) p. 559 - 568 ISSN: 0146-3934
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