Festus A. Adegoju, Joseph Kolawole Abon


Participation in physical exercise is regarded as a healthy behaviour that promotes both physical and mental health among students. It is a preventive and therapeutic measure for mental health illness. However, despite the positive relationship between participation in physical exercise and mental health, many students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria still engage in sedentary life style which increases their vulnerability to mental health issues. Several studies have been carried out on students and mental health, behavioural health risks such as substance use, unsafe sexual behaviour, violence and increased risk of communicable and non-communicable diseases, injury and mortality and anxiety as the most prevalent disorder found in men and women but little research effort has been directed towards the influence of exercise participation on these selected indices of mental health between student athletes and non-athletes of Obafemi Awolowo University. Correlation survey research design was used for this study. Data obtained were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency count, simple percentage, mean, standard deviation and bar chart for the demographic variables and research questions. Chi square (CRAMMER V) and multiple regression were used to test hypotheses at 0.05 alpha level of significance. The population for this study comprises of male and female student athletes and non-athletes of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as participants. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select Two hundred (200) respondents from five (5) faculties. A standardised questionnaire on depression and anxiety scale was used as instrument for data collection with reliability co-efficient (r) of 0.71. Two research questions were answered and five hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance. Findings from this study showed significance on depression between student athletes and non-athletes (X2=58.791, df=12, p<0.05), anxiety disorder (X2=50.974, df=12, p<0.05), gender difference (F=12.67, df=198, p< 0.05), joint contribution of exercise, gender and course of study (F(3,195)= 19.877) and independent contributions of Exercise 55.5% (ß=.555, t=29.452, p<0.05), gender 30.8% (ß=.308, t=15.616, p<0.05) and study 19.9% (ß=.199, t=14.519, p<0.05). It was concluded that those students who participate in exercise (athletes) show better mental health in terms of depression and anxiety disorder than non-athletes. Also, it was recommended that the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife must see it as a point of importance to give students ample opportunity to engage in physical exercise.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejpe.v6i10.3545


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