Date of Graduation

Fall 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Melissa Smith

First Reader

Laura Richardson

Second Reader

Rachele Kappler


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to gain further knowledge on the effects of stress on students studying health professions by discovering common causes of stress, coping mechanisms utilized for stress of students, and how regular exercise relates to stress tolerance. METHODS: This study was a quantitative, cross-sectional design through a survey distributed via email to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a Midwestern university’s College of Health Professions. Embedded in the email was an anonymous link to a survey, which was constructed through the Qualtrics survey platform. The survey included questions relating to stress about major life events occurred, daily hassles, coping mechanisms for stress, symptoms of stress, and current exercise habits. RESULTS: This study found that there was not a significant relationship between stress tolerance ratios and regular exercise (p<0.05, p=0.31). Similarly, no significant difference was determined when comparing academic levels and exercise habits (p<0.05, p=0.316). When examining the association between exercise as a coping mechanism and academic level, there was also not a significant relationship (p<0.05, p=0.40). CONCLUSIONS: Although the results of the study did not yield significant differences between variables, the results of the frequently reported life events, daily hassles, and coping mechanisms agreed with previous research. These findings implicate that undergraduate and graduate students have commonalities in major life events, daily hassles, and coping mechanisms for stress when compared to previous research. Trends were observed in this study, and should be examined further with a larger sample size.