The Effects of Diet, Physical Activity and Social Factors on Stress Perceived by Students
Backgroud. General health status of students is becoming worse due to an intensive lifestyle: a difficult job or
study routine, improper diet, and low physical activity (Poteliūnienė, 2010). One of the common problems among
students is stress. Stressful situations on a daily basis have been found to be associated with a worse physical
and psychological status, harmful habits or personal relationships with friends (Dusselier, Dunn, Wang, Shelley, &
Whalen, 2005; Leppink, Odlaug, Lust, Christenson, & Grant, 2016).
Methods. According to the following questionnaires, dietary habits and some social peculiarities (Grabauskas,
Zaborskis, Klumbienė, Petkevičienė, & Žemaitienė, 2004), physical activity (Aadahl & JØrgensen, 2003) and
perceived stress (Konduri, Gupchup, Borrego, & Worley-Louis, 2006) by female and male students were determined.
The data obtained were processed using mathematical statistical methods. The relationships between qualitative
determinants were evaluated by chi square (χ 2 ) criterion. A value at p < .05 was considered significant. Statistical
analysis was performed using SPSS (version 17.0) (Statistical Package for Social Science 17.0 for Windows)
statistical software package.
Results. Male students (54.2%) who were following a dietary regime reported experiencing low level of stress,
and those students (45.2%) who were not having a dietary regime perceived moderate level of stress. Married female
students (80%) responded that they experienced low level of stress, moderate level of stress was indicated by 72.7%
of females living with a partner and 40% of females who had a boyfriend, and 38.5% of single females reported
having high level of stress.
Conclusions. Male students who were following a dietary regimen reported experiencing lower level of stress,
and those students who were not having a dietary regimen responded that they perceived moderate level of stress.
A dietary regimen and perceived stress did not differ among female students. Different levels of physical activity
were not associated with stress experienced by female and male students (p > .05). Married female students did not
perceive high level of stress; moderate level was reported by females living with a partner; high level of stress – by
single students. Marital status and perceived stress did not differ in male students.
Keywords: physical activity, diet, social factors, stress.
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