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Health Psychol. 1988;7(4):341-53.

Exercise as a buffer of life stress: a prospective study of adolescent health.

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Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0442.


The hypothesis that physical exercise provides benefits to individuals under periods of life stress has rarely been subject to empirical verification. This article presents the results of a longitudinal study of stress and well-being in adolescence in which the ability of exercise to buffer stress-induced deteriorations in physical health was examined. In accordance with predictions, prospective analyses revealed that the negative impact of stressful life events on health declined as exercise levels increased. These findings suggest that exercise may be a valuable resource for combating life stress. Discussion centers on possible mediating mechanisms and on the practical implications of the results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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