Date of Award

Fall 10-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Wright

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrea Alameda

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


The continual decline in health and wellness and the potential impact on society, including the economic, social, physical, and emotional perspectives is a concern for health professionals. Specifically, there are concerns about the lifestyle habits as individuals’ transition through the lifespan from childhood to late adulthood. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of high school varsity athletic participation on physical activity and wellness in the adult life stages: young, middle, and late. The researcher hypothesized that individuals that participated in high school varsity athletics would report higher levels of physical activity and higher wellness scores (social, physical, and emotional) in the adult life stages than individuals that did not participate in high school varsity athletics. The researcher recruited, through electronic e-mail, 564 college alumni (69.1% female) to participate in the exploratory study. Participants completed the Godin Leisure-time Exercise Questionnaire and the Perceived Wellness Survey. Participants were then grouped by past high school athletic participation status (59.2% varsity athletes) and by adult life stage. An ANOVA indicated significant differences between groups in all areas. Athletes in young adulthood showed the greatest differences in strenuous physical activity (p<.001) when compared to non-athletes. Athletes in late adulthood showed the greatest differences in moderate physical activity (p<.01) when compared to non-athletes. Non-athletes in young adulthood showed the greatest negative differences in emotional wellness (p<.05) when compared to all groups. Additionally, the greatest differences in total wellness was between athletes (p<.001) and non-athletes in young adulthood. iii Finally, athletes in young adulthood reported the greatest differences in total physical activity (p<.05), physical wellness (p<.05), and social wellness (p<.05) when compared to other groups. The findings from the study provide strong evidence that high school varsity participation can help individuals develop healthy habits that are carried into adulthood. The study provides a strong foundation for future research in physical activity, wellness, and sport behavior. In conclusion, school administrators and health professionals should consider providing more opportunities for more adolescents to participate in structured athletic programs to develop healthy habits that become lifelong behaviors.


Copyright 2013