The prevalence of depression is between 5-10% in adults and is the fourth most
significant cause of disability in the world. It also is the second most common reported
mental health disorder among college students, second to eating disorders. Research
indicates that exercise is an effective intervention for depression (Blumenthal et al.,
2007); however, few laboratory-based experimental studies have examined the effect of
exercise on depression. The purpose of this research was to conduct an experimental
study examining the effect of exercise intensity on depressed mood in college students.
The study consists of undergraduate college students (n=25) self-reporting depressed
mood. These students were randomly assigned to a vigorous exercise group, a moderate
intensity exercise group, or a control. Depressed mood was examined before,
immediately after, and 24 hours following a single bout of exercise using the Profile of
Mood States (POMS). The hypothesis was that participants randomly assigned to
vigorous intensity exercise would have greater mood changes (in the positive direction)
than participants assigned to moderate intensity exercise or the control. Results indicated
no differences between the groups on pre-test to post-test changes on mood as measured
by the POMS at either timepoint. Future studies should use larger sample sizes in order
to better detect significant differences. Also, it would be beneficial to use a population of
clinically depressed students to better determine if exercise can be used and how it should
be used in the treatment of depression.
University of Minnesota Master of Arts thesis. January 2011. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Beth Lewis. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 46 pages.
Kennedy, Betsy F..
The Effect of a Single Bout of Moderate vs. Vigorous Exercise on Mood in College Students.
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