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The Anxiolytic Effects of Exercise in Third Level Students

Kennedy, Christopher (2021) The Anxiolytic Effects of Exercise in Third Level Students. Undergraduate thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Background: Research into anxiety and other comorbidly occurring issues has demonstrated high prevalence. Anxiety in third level students has not been comprehensively investigated. Medications often used to treat anxiety can produce a plethora of negative side effects. Exercise has been shown to reduce HPA-axis activity and symptoms of anxiety. Variations in exercise intensity have demonstrated differing results while lacking methodological standardisation.

Aims: This study sought to examine the prevalence of anxiety in third level students. Secondly, the anxiolytic effects of exercise were investigated. Finally, high, and low intensity exercise groups had their anxiolytic effectiveness compared.

Method: Participants were recruited using snowball sampling (n = 152) and completed an online survey containing the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), GAD-7, IPAQ and PRETIE-Q scales.

Results: Results displayed moderate anxiety prevalence of 22% and 61% respectively for the BAI and GAD-7. There was a small negative correlation between exercise and anxiety, BAI (r = -.29) and GAD-7 (r = -.28). There was no difference in anxiety between exercise intensity groups.

Conclusion: Findings provide insight on the prevalence of anxiety in third level students. Exercise was shown to have anxiolytic effects and may be more commonly implemented as part of a treatment model. As there was no difference between exercise intensity and anxiety, this demonstrates potential novel findings and indicates that exercise of all variations can produce anxiolytic effects.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Emotions
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Psychology
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2021 14:11
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 15:17

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