Jody Sobel

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Erik Lind, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bryanne Bellovary, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Jason C. Parks, Ph.D


The prevalence and severity of depression symptoms amongst college students, specifically female identifying undergraduate students, is worrisome. There is a great deal of research that suggests a relationship between exercise, specifically resistance training (RT), and mental health. That said, current literature suggests that many female identifying students are not engaging due to perceived barriers. This, perhaps because of the plethora of barriers one can perceive. The purpose of this study was multifold 1) to examine the prevalence and severity of non-specific psychological distress; 2) to determine if there were differences between Kessler 6 Non-Specific Psychological Distress Scale (K6) categories (i.e., no or low, moderate, and serious psychological distress) regarding RT program variables (i.e., frequency, intensity, and volume) and Perceived Barriers to Resistance Training (PBRTQ) total and subscale (i.e., time-effort, physical effects, social, and specific obstacles) scores; and 3) to establish a relationship between RT program variables and PBRTQ total and subscale scores in a sample of undergraduate self-identifying female students. Participants included a sample of self-identifying female undergraduate students who were enrolled at the State University of New York at Cortland during the 2022-2023 academic year. An extensive questionnaire was used to gather data that included the following: informed consent, demographic data, K6, and the PBRTQ. Results indicated that individuals in the severe psychological distress category perceived greater barriers to RT than individuals in the no and low (p < 0.001) and moderate (p = 0.001) psychological distress categories. With that, a moderate negative correlation was found between perceived barriers to RT and RT frequency (r = -0.44, p < 0.001). Therefore, it could be inferred that individuals experienced greater psychological distress due to their no or low RT frequency. For self-identifying female students to reap the benefits of RT, specifically the psychological benefits, universities must help students overcome their perceived barriers, specifically their perceived time/effort and social barriers.

Waiver.pdf (63 kB)