Physical Activity Enhances Self-Esteem of Male College Students; a Randomized Controlled Trial


1 Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Neyshabur, Iran

2 Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Golestan, Iran

3 Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health (CRECH), University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, USA

4 Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA


Introduction: Self-esteem is a sense of values, the degree of approval, affirmation, acceptance and being valuable that a person has toward himself. As exercise causes a feeling of adequacy and efficiency, it may increase self-esteem. The present research aimed to study the effect of a physical activity program on self-esteem of male college students.

Methods: The present study was a randomized controlled trial. The study randomly assigned 90 male college students into two groups of intervention and control. Eight weeks of exercise program were applied to the intervention group and the control group received no intervention. The program was composed of regular aerobic exercises. Before and after the study, self-esteem of the subjects were assessed by using the Copper Self Esteem Scale. The results were analyzed using the SPSS16 software. Descriptive statistics (frequency, mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (Chi-square test, independent and paired t-test) were applied.

Results: The mean self-esteem of the students in the intervention group changed from 90.6±9.5 to 109.8±5.3, while it was stable for the control group (91.1±1.3 to 92.4±2.1). The independent sample’s t-test showed a statistically significant difference between the level of improvement between the two groups (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The results indicate that physical activity programs boost the self-esteem of male college students. Considering the ease of implementation, the benefits of physical activity and no serious adverse events, we recommend the use of mild to moderate physical activities as an intervention to enhance self-esteem, a determinant of mental health.


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