Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology






125 (1-10)


Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression became heightened issues for college-aged young adults during the global pandemic. The main purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a peer-supported exercise intervention on young adults (vs. self-guided exercise) who reported elevated levels of anxiety and/or depression. A parallel group design was used where young adults (n = 27) were randomly assigned to either a peer-supported or self-guided exercise group which lasted for eight weeks. The generalized anxiety and depression subscales of the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS-34) were measured for a baseline and then at 4-week, 8-week, and 12-week follow-up. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) with repetitive measures show that peer-supported and self-guided exercise programs reduced participant anxiety and depression scores; however, intervention decay for the peer-supported exercise intervention was more severe than that for the self-guided group. Self-guided exercise had a longer-lasting effect than the peer-supported alternative and could be a cost-effective approach to combat anxiety and depression issues among young adults.


© 2023 by the authors.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Data Availability

Article states: "The raw data are unavailable due to privacy or ethical restrictions. The aggregated data are available through the corresponding author."

Original Publication Citation

Zhu, X., Kostick, M. D., & Haegele, J. A. (2023). Effects of peer-supported and self-guided exercise on self-reported anxiety and depression among young adults - A pilot study. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 8(3), 1-10, Article 125.


0000-0002-5048-3464 (Zhu), 0000-0001-5015-1219 (Kostic), 0000-0002-8580-4782 (Haegele)