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Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Studies



Major Advisor

Linda Petlichkoff, Ph.D.


Anxiety and depression are major public health concerns that have reached epidemic levels in the United States, in that, approximately 38 million (1 in 8) Americans are affected each year (Amen & Routh, 2003). Exercise has shown to be an effective method in the reduction of anxiety and depression. A majority of this reduction has been shown with the use of moderate to high intensity exercise. Low intensity exercise (i.e., walking) has shown to be effective in fewer studies, but nonetheless have proven to be somewhat effective in the reduction of anxiety and/or depression. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of a 12-week walking program on measures of depression and anxiety with a court-ordered population. Participants were selected from groups at a mental health agency in the northwest. Individuals in these groups were court-ordered to attend treatment due to crimes that had been committed against other individuals in their community. The sample population was a captive sample, as they were required to be in treatment in order to avoid jail or prison time, or to reduce the amount of time required to serve on probation. However, this captive sample population was offered the opportunity to volunteer for the research with no negative repercussions for those who chose not to participate in the research. Participants who volunteered for the research and agreed to participate in the research, after they received an explanation regarding the research, were asked to complete a demographic information sheet as well as the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Participants completed these instruments as a pretest, they then completed these instruments at the conclusion of weeks 4, 8, and 12. Participants were separated into two groups. One group received both an exercise condition as well as a weekly therapy session. The second group received only a weekly therapy session. Data were analyzed using a repeated measure MANOVA to assess statistical significance. Based on the MANOVA results, a significant difference emerged for group, F(3, 65) = 5.05, p < .01, and time, F(9, 59) = 3.85, p < .001. Implications of a low intensity walking program are discussed.