Physical activity and mental health in a student population. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: A growing body of literature indicates that physical activity can have beneficial effects on mental health. However, previous research has mainly focussed on clinical populations, and little is known about the psychological effects of physical activity in those without clinically defined disorders. AIMS: The present study investigates the association between physical activity and mental health in an undergraduate university population based in the United Kingdom. METHOD: One hundred students completed questionnaires measuring their levels of anxiety and depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and their physical activity regime using the Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ). RESULTS: Significant differences were observed between the low, medium and high exercise groups on the mental health scales, indicating better mental health for those who engage in more exercise. CONCLUSIONS: Engagement in physical activity can be an important contributory factor in the mental health of undergraduate students.

published proceedings

  • J Ment Health

author list (cited authors)

  • Tyson, P., Wilson, K., Crone, D., Brailsford, R., & Laws, K.

complete list of authors

  • Tyson, Philip||Wilson, Kelly||Crone, Diane||Brailsford, Richard||Laws, Keith