Date Approved

2-4-2019

Embargo Period

2-5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A., Clinical Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Frierson, Georita M.

Second Advisor

Fife, Dustin

Third Advisor

Greeson, Jeffrey M.

Subject(s)

Exercise; College students

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology | Public Health

Abstract

Background: Physical inactivity has garnered significant attention as it is considered an emerging worldwide young adult problem. There is empirical evidence on predictors of low levels of physical activity (PA), such as an individual’s sex and/or socio-economic status. There are also other possible reasons for the decline in PA, such as an individual’s motivations and/or barriers for participation in physical activity and an individual’s understanding of their predisposition to chronic illnesses. This study seeks to identify perceptions of benefits/barriers to PA and motivating factors needed to increase physical activity in college populations. Methods: A survey gathering information on demographics, PA, family medical history (FMH), and perceived benefits and barriers to physical activity was given. Results: One major finding of this study is that an individual’s perceived benefits of exercise impacted PA levels across all analyses. Similarly to benefits, an individuals perceived barriers to exercise also had an impact on PA levels across all analyses. Conclusions: In this particular college-aged sample, an individual’s family medical history of cancer or diabetes did not increase PA levels, but it has been shown in other studies to increase preventive behavior involvement, such as PA. Conversely, whether an individual assessed that PA offers more benefits to them, PA levels increased. These findings have the ability to inform interventions by finding strategies to increase college aged individuals’ motivation to engage in PA.

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