Effects of physical activity on mood: a field experimental investigation

Por: Alexis Lyras, Andreas Yiannakis, Greg Kane e Joon Han.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Numerous studies report that exercise has beneficial effects in the reduction of stress, and affects various psychological states (McGowan, Pierce & Jordan, 1991), including mood and the treatment of depression (Bahrke & Morgan, 1978; Berger & Owen, 1987, 1988, 1992; Doyne, Ossip-Klein, Bowman, Osborn, McDougal-Wilson & Neimeyer, 1987). What is unclear in the literature, however, is whether different activities influence participants in a uniform way or the effects vary by activity. It was the purpose of this investigation, therefore, to begin by examining the effects of participation in recreational karate, recreational volleyball, recreational basketball and all-women’s varsity soccer on mood.


College age male and female students participating in coed karate (N=32), coed Volleyball (N=24), coed Basketball (N=24), Women’s Varsity Soccer (N=22) and a coed control group (N=25) were administered the Mood Semantic Differential Scale (Alpha reliability = .95). Participants were tested prior to and immediately following the termination of their respective activities. The data were analyzed using correlated t-tests and multiple discriminant analysis.


Multiple positive significant changes were observed in all four sport activities. One significant change was observed within the control group. It appears that different sports affect participants in different ways, although overlaps in a number of areas are also evident. Karate demonstrated the greatest number of changes in pre-post mood states with one factor (empowerment) making a major contribution. While it’s evident that sport activities make their own independent effect the findings also suggest that participants who rated their participation performance higher than others also demonstrated significantly higher post participation mood changes. We hypothesize that the differential effects that physical activities appear to have on participants may be attributed to a number of within sport group factors. These include the attributes of the activity’s social environment, the challenges involved, the competence elevating attributes inherent in each activity and the goodness of fit between a participant’s athletic ability and performance. Biochemical factors may also be involved in this process.


Research in the past ten years suggests that elevated mood states enhance locus of control, contribute to persistence at problem solving tasks, enhance creativity, contribute to prosocial (helping) behavior and enhance the body’s immune system (Hull, 1990). What is unclear at this stage of research is which enhanced mood states and what types of physical activity contribute most to these benefits.


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[4]. Hull, R. (1990). J. Of Leis Res, 22, 99-111.
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