Social networks, group exercise, and anxiety among college students Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between group exercise membership, social network characteristics, and general state anxiety in a sample of college students. Participants: 490 undergraduates from a private university in the southern US participated in the study. Methods: An egocentric network analysis was conducted to test whether demographic variables, leisure-time physical activity, group exercise membership, flourishing scores, and network variables were related to anxiety. Results: Regression analyses (R2 = .174, F = 7.650, p < .0001) suggest group exercise membership (β = -.105, p = .034) and flourishing scores (β = -.342, p < .0001) were related to lower anxiety scores, while being a racial/ethnic minority (β = .094, p = .036), and having personal networks composed of more people who exercise often (β = .100, p = .025), were related to higher anxiety scores in this sample. Conclusions: Findings suggest a connection between group exercise membership, activity habits of peers, and anxiety. Encouraging group exercise participation could be an effective way of combating anxiety for college students.

author list (cited authors)

  • Patterson, M. S., Gagnon, L. R., Vukelich, A., Brown, S. E., Nelon, J. L., & Prochnow, T.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM