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Nurse Educ Today. 2012 Apr;32(3):325-31. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2011.07.013. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Physical activity and mental well-being in student nurses.

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  • 1School of Nursing & Midwifery Studies, Cardiff University, Caerleon Campus, Grounds of St Cadocs Hospital, Caerleon, NP18 3XR, UK. hawkercl@cf.ac.uk

Abstract

There is strong evidence that suggests physical activity can enhance mental well-being. However, this relationship has not been widely investigated in student nurses. A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the relationship between physical activity and mental well-being in undergraduate student nurses (n=215). Physical activity was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Other outcomes included self-esteem, anxiety, depression, life satisfaction, outcome expectations and self-efficacy. Almost, a quarter (23.8%) of the total sample, were meeting the Department of Health's physical activity guideline. Mean body mass index (BMI) was 25.0 with 40% being in the overweight to morbidly obese category. Self-esteem was significantly positively correlated with total physical activity (r=0.16, p=0.038) and moderate intensity activity (r=0.17, p=0.021). No other significant relationships were found between anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life and physical activity. Outcome expectations for exercise and self-efficacy were significantly positively correlated with moderate (r=0.17, p=0.019) and vigorous (r=0.28, p=0.000) intensity activity and total physical activity (r=0.29, p=0.000). BMI was significantly positively correlated with age (r=0.242, p=0.001), significantly negatively correlated with self-efficacy for exercise (r=0.257, p=0.000) and satisfaction with life (r=-0.144, p=0.041). Regression analysis showed that low self efficacy for exercise and increasing age were significant predictors of BMI with a small effect size r(2)=0.126, adjusted r(2)=0.112. BMI and physical activity variables collectively explained only 2% of the variance for anxiety, 4% for depression, 5% for self esteem and 6% for satisfaction with life. BMI was a significant predictor of satisfaction with life (Beta=-0.171, p=0.027). Participation in physical activity may be influential in improving mental well-being in student nurses. Promoting physical activity in student nurses has the potential to increase self-esteem and life satisfaction and decrease the risk of anxiety and depression. Further research is needed to establish whether this relationship is causal and exists in other student nurse populations.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21871696
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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