Gender differences in physical activity are partially explained by anxiety sensitivity in post-secondary students

Christopher E. J. DeWolfe, Margo C. Watt, Pablo Romero-Sanchiz, Sherry H. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Female post-secondary students typically engage in less physical activity than their male counterparts. Given that women have greater anxiety sensitivity (ie, fear of arousal-based body sensations) and anxiety sensitivity is inversely related to physical activity participation, this study sought to determine if anxiety sensitivity mediates gender differences in self-reported physical activity. Participants and methods: A sample of 802 post-secondary students completed the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3 and a Lifestyles Questionnaire in September 2017. Results: Women reported significantly less physical activity and significantly greater anxiety sensitivity. Anxiety sensitivity was significantly and inversely related to self-reported physical activity. A significant indirect effect of gender on physical activity via anxiety sensitivity was shown (B = 5.56, SE = 2.81, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-222
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • anxiety sensitivity
  • avoidance
  • gender differences
  • physical activity

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