Group differences and associations among stress, emotional well-being, and physical activity in international and domestic university students
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Objective: To examine the differences in experiences of stress, emotional well-being, and physical activity among international and domestic students. Participants: Domestic (n = 4,035) and international (n = 605) students at a large Canadian university. Methods: Responses to items on stress, emotional well-being (happiness and satisfaction with life), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and strength training were self-reported. Group differences were explored in a multivariate analysis of variance model, and student status was tested as a moderator of the associations between stress, emotional well-being (happiness and satisfaction with life), and MVPA. Results: International students reported significantly lower stress and emotional well-being compared to domestic students, and fewer days of MVPA. Student status moderated the association between stress and MVPA, with the association significant for domestic students. Conclusions: Given the findings, international students may have distinct attitudes and beliefs toward MVPA that could be targeted in tailored interventions.