The current study was undertaken to examine the associations between self-determination, exercise habit, anxiety, depression, stress, and academic achievement among adolescents aged 13 and 14 years in eastern Malaysia.
The sample consisted of 750 secondary school students (mean age = 13.4 years, SD = 0.49). Participants completed self-report measures of exercise behavioral regulation, negative affect, and exercise habit strength. Midyear exam results were used as an indicator of academic performance. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data.
The results of structural equation modeling revealed a close model fit for the hypothesized model, which indicates that higher levels of self-determination were positively associated with habituated exercise behavior. In turn, exercise habit strength fostered academic achievement and buffered the debilitative effect of stress, depression, and anxiety on student academic performance. The analysis of model invariance revealed a nonsignificant difference between male and female subjects.
The findings support the notion that habituated exercise fosters academic performance. In addition, we found that habituated exercise buffers the combined effects of stress, anxiety and depression on academic performance. The finding also supports the roles of self-determination in promoting exercise habituation.