Physical activity, physical fitness, and psychological characteristics of medical students

J Psychosom Res. 1991;35(2-3):197-208. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(91)90074-x.


Exercise habits, cardiovascular fitness, and selected psychological characteristics were assessed in a sample of over 200 men and women at entrance to medical school. Fitness was measured with a step test, and other variables were measured with standardized questionnaires. Anger ('anger-in') showed the strongest negative correlation with both exercise and fitness. Anger suppression, Type A behavior, and daily stress showed significant negative correlations with both exercise and fitness variables, although the strengths of these associations were uniformly weak. Associations of exercise/fitness with depression and total anger inventory were nonsignificant. Few gender differences were found. Both exercise and fitness showed similar patterns of association with psychological variables. Both exercise and fitness were associated with a style of anger expression that has been found to be related to cardiovascular risk in other studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Arousal*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Fitness / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Type A Personality