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JSHR is a multidisciplinary journal that features investigations, studies, and reviews on current topics in sports, physical activity, health and education.

THE EFFECT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EXERCISE INTERVENTIONS ON COLLEGE STUDENTS’ WELL BEING AND ILL-BEING: A META-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS

 

ABSTRACT

 

Objective: To examine the effect of experimental interventions (psychological and exercise-based) on well-being and ill-being related variables in college students.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using PubMed, Ebsco Academic Search Complete, SportDiscus and Science Direct, including only randomized controlled trials (RCT). Sixteen studies published between 1987 and 2012 (totaling 1342 individuals) met the selection criteria.

Results: Both psychological, effect size= 0.48; 95% CI [0.39, 0.56], and exercise interventions, effect size= 0.57; 95% CI [0.42, 0.72] yielded overall positive effects. No differences were found between types of intervention. Results are heterogeneous; moderator analyses did not explain the variability.

Conclusion: Psychological and exercise interventions are similarly effective in impacting higher education students’ well-being and ill-being. Decreases in anxiety and depression were found after both types of interventions. Only psychological strategies effectively change negative affect. Confirmatory trials and cost-effectiveness studies in college settings are recommended. Future research on strategies combining exercise and psychological approaches is needed.

 

KEY WORDS

 

higher education, mental health, anxiety, depression, negative affect, human movement.

 
Journal of Sport and Health Research - 2009