Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type



Richard W.Riley College of Education

Degree Program

Physical Education, Sport, and Human Performance

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Joni M. Boyd

Committee Member

Jason Chung

Committee Member

Logan Daughtry


COVID-19, Physical activity, College students, Psychometric beliefs, Physical well-being, Mental well-being


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine PA behaviors, social support and self-efficacy for PA, Rosenberg self-esteem, and perceptions of body weight before and after the COVID-19 shutdown (March 15, 2020) among the college demographic.

Participants: 311 college students from a four-year, comprehensive, southeastern university in the United States were included in the study from December 1, 2020 until March 5, 2021.

Methods: Surveys were conducted via Qualtrics, an online survey system, and consisted of approximately 40 items, including demographic information, PA behaviors, social support and exercise, self-esteem, self-efficacy to exercise, and perceptions of body weight and self-image. Additionally, the questionnaires included pre-screening questions related to age, enrollment at a southeastern university, COVID-19 results, and contact tracing associated with COVID-19.

Results: Dependent (paired samples) t-tests suggested that all measured variables were significantly higher before the COVID-19 shutdown occurred (prior to March 15, 2020) than after the shutdown: vigorous PA (M= 2.57; M= 2.00; p= <.001), moderate PA (M= 3.29; M= 2.68; p= <.001), walking-only PA (M= 4.64; M= 4.17; p= <.001), social support for PA (M=22.47; M=21.06; p=.007), self-efficacy for PA (M=15.16; M=13.96; p=<.001), self-esteem (M=24.05; M=24.88; p=.002), and body image (M=8.72; M=9.11; p =.002).

Conclusion: These results suggest that the PA levels measured significantly decreased upon the COVID-19 shutdown, as well as several psychometric factors that could be related to physical well-being, highlighting the importance of PA. Campuses and recreation centers should continue to offer safe and effective recreational activities and health services, whether students are on or off campus.