Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Exercise Science

First Advisor

Michael W Beets

Abstract

Changes in physical activity (PA) patterns and stress levels are common among college students. Not only are physiological and psychological changes occurring, changes in academic performance can be disrupted. Despite descriptive and intervention data already provided on PA and stress, limited data exists when examining how changes in these variables affect academic performance. The current study was designed to investigate (1) how the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), a common PA measurement performed on college students, correlates with the Sensewear Armband (SWA) by Body Media, (2) the relationship of PA and stress in this population, and (3) the relationship of PA and stress on grade point average. Two-hundred and ninety-seven undergraduate students, mean age 19.6 years, completed 2 self-report PA and 2 stress surveys throughout the fall semester. A subsample (n=84) of these students also wore BodyMedia SenseWear Armbands during the data collection period. Grade point averages were collected upon the conclusion of the fall semester. Results indicate that moderate correlations between the IPAQ and SWA were observed for vigorous (r = 0.54) and moderate activity (r = 0.54). Walking was not correlated to step count(r = 0.20) nor sedentary activity (r = 0.15) from both measures. Total energy expended measured by the SWA was only correlated with minutes of vigorous PA (r = 0.35) and minutes of walking (r = 0.34) from the IPAQ. Specifically examining PA and stress, higher levels of stress were associated with being female and conversely, stress levels were lower with every hour of sleep achieved. Grade point averages were altered as changes in PA occurred. Total energy expenditure and step counts were associated with higher GPA, whereas stress was associated with lower GPA. These results indicate that moderate correlations were noted with more intense activity and Bland-Altman plots showed better agreement between measures in activities of shorter duration. Moreover, specific demographics appear to alter the PA and stress relationship, yet a direct relationship between PA and stress were not observed. Furthermore, GPA was affected by various components of PA, yet further research is warranted in this area.

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