Date of Award

Spring 2018


Capstone - Open Access


Human Development and Human Services, Minor in Political Science

First Advisor

Katelyn Kurkul


This study uses the World Health Organization model of physical, social, and mental health to examine the effect of participating in dance and team sports during childhood on mental health in adulthood. Prior research has suggested that physical activity is strongly integrated with mental and social health and therefore is a protective factor among mental illness. However, there is not sufficient research comparing the differences among dance and team sports on mental health. This study hypothesized that dancers would experience more positive mental health in adulthood than team sports due to the basis of physical activity in dance, but the distinguishing factors of dance that are not experienced in team sports such as emotional expression, creativity, and performance. This study was completed through an anonymous survey 16 item survey administered to women’s sports and dance teams in Massachusetts colleges. The results of this study indicate that dance and team sports display no statistically significant evidence of protecting against stress. Instead, this study suggests that stressors from college such as increased responsibility, independence, and physical separation from an individual's support system may be increasing stress.