Are Anxiety Symptoms Better Predicted by Cardiorespiratory Fitness or Self-Reported Physical Activity?: Correlations with General Anxiety and Anxiety Sensitivity




Kondratieff, Andrew

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In recent years, anxiety disorders have increased among all demographic groups (Goodwin et al, 2020), yet only a small percentage of individuals seek treatment (Lépine, 2002). Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder can be debilitating, demanding solutions that decrease symptoms. One popular coping mechanism for anxiety is exercise. However, the best forms and frequencies of exercise to lower anxiety levels are unclear. Of particular interest to researchers is the ability of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) versus self-reported physical activity (SRPA) to predict anxiety symptoms. In this experiment, 168 healthy young adults were administered a submaximal graded exercise test to determine CRF. Anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and SRPA were measured via standardized questionnaires. Multiple regression analyses were performed. Independent variables (CRF and SRPA) were compared with one another and with each dependent variable (anxiety and anxiety sensitivity) to determine which independent variable effectively predicted anxiety symptoms over and above the other. The CRF raw data was found to be significantly, negatively correlated with anxiety data, anxiety sensitivity data, and anxiety sensitivity data when controlling for biological sex. The relationship between CRF raw data and anxiety data when controlling for biological sex was not statistically significant. Raw SRPA data was not significantly correlated with anxiety data or anxiety sensitivity data, regardless of controlling for biological sex. Thus, the data contributes to the conclusion that CRF is a better predictor of anxiety symptoms than SRPA.



Anxiety., Anxiety sensitivity., Cardiorespiratory fitness., Self-reported physical activity., Psychology., General anxiety disorder.