Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2020

Degree Name

MSEd in Physical Education


Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

First Advisor

Dr. Melanie Perreualt

Second Advisor

Dr. Cathy Houston-Wilson


The purpose of this synthesis is to examine the benefits of physical activity, as opposed to prescription medication, on mental health, specifically the diagnosis of depression and anxiety. Within this synthesis there is research done showing data of overprescribing and a lack of healthy treatment options from this generation’s medical professionals. The studies reviewed within the critical mass highlight many factors bringing positive data to using physical activity as a treatment for depression and anxiety in many different types of ways. Studies were reviewed through the length of intervention, type of intervention, based on participant’s symptoms and medication levels. The participants were looked at through the course of using physical activity through their knowledge/interest of activity, ideas for activity, guidance for activity etc. in the hopes that physical activity will become a lifelong treatment option for their diagnosis as opposed to prescription medication. It is the hope that future research continues to gather data to support this topic and spread awareness of it for a healthier future for both the mind and the body.

Keywords: [physical activity, mental health, depression/anxiety, medication, overprescribing, symptoms, positive]


This is a synthesis of literature in search of evidence that mental health diagnosis such as depression and anxiety can be treated by physical activity as opposed to using prescription medication.