Graduation Date

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Program

Master of Science degree with a major in Kinesiology, option Teaching/Coaching

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Sheila Alicea

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Justus Ortega

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Alisha Gaskins

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Kinesiology

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the effects of a peer-assisted, self-selected physical activity program on depression and anxiety in students at a four-year university, and to explore the various possible mechanisms by which depression and anxiety were affected. These mechanisms included physical activity, self-efficacy, relatedness, competence, and autonomy. A secondary purpose was to examine the benefits of participation for the physical activity buddies who provided the peer-support. In-depth interviews were conducted with three program participants with depression and/or anxiety, six physical activity buddies who supported the participants, and three referring professional healthcare providers. A qualitative data analysis was completed using the professional analysis software Atlas.ti to find and weigh the importance of both deductive and inductive themes that emerged from the transcripts. Results showed that participation in a peer-assisted physical activity program provided significant benefits for the participants with depression and/or anxiety, as well as the physical activity buddies who supported them, and the overburdened campus healthcare centers. Participants with depression and/or anxiety experienced a reduction in those symptoms while also gaining an increase in self-efficacy and competence. The mechanism found to be primarily responsible for the changes was the combination of physical activity and relatedness. Other mechanisms of benefit included self-efficacy and competence, routine, nature, and other lifestyle changes. The results from this study illuminate a cost-effective way to address rising depression and anxiety rates in college students.

Citation Style

APA

Available for download on Saturday, May 06, 2023

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