The Relationship Between Physical Activity, Emotional Intelligence, and Mental Health Outcomes in College Students

Document Type


Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences


This project examines the relationship between physical activity, emotional intelligence, and mental health outcomes in college-aged individuals. While the physical benefits of exercise have been established, there is a lack of information on the effect that exercise has on emotions. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the "study of the interactions among immune process, neural and endocrine functions, and behavior" (Bhochhibhoya, Branscum, Taylor, & Hofford, 2014). To test this relationship on college students, a sample of 438 college students were gathered. They were asked to complete a "Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SSEIT), the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) long-form, the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale K6, and a demographic questionnaire" (Bhochhibhoya, Branscum, Taylor, & Hofford, 2014). A one-way ANOVA was used to figure the mean difference in emotional intelligence scores and mental health scores among students with different levels of physical activity. A regression model was used to test each hypothesis. The result of this study encourages the importance of mental health and emotional intelligence (EI) when predicting amounts of physical activity (PA) in college-aged individuals. "This finding is in line with those of Li et. al. (2009) and Omar et. al. (2012). Li et. al. (2009) suggested that PA was the best predictor for EI when compared to mental health, gender, general mood, and general health" (Bhochhibhoya, Branscum, Taylor, & Hofford, 2014). The main outcome for both of these studies has proven that a relationship exists between PA and EI. Working out and exercising have a strong correlation with our emotional regulation. Implementation of cycling and stretching groups have great results for emotional regulation. (Bernstien, Heeren, McNally, 2019). There have been reports that after just one to two aerobic sessions they have reduced anxiety and fewer depression moods. Overall the correlation of exercise and emotional control is strong and research provides positive results.

First Advisor

Becky Wolff

Research Area

Health Sciences

This document is currently not available here.