Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield


The objective of this study was to determine if aerobic exercise affects trait anxiety in pregnant women and if selected demographic variables relate to trait anxiety. These variables were age, occupation, family income, general physical and mental health, education, lifestyle, and previous exercise history. The independent variable was aerobic exercise. The dependent variable was anxiety which was measured by the trait portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983).

This research was quasi-experimental and used the Solomon Four-Group Design. The experimental group consisted of women who participated in a Pregnancy Fitness Aerobic exercise program for the duration of their pregnancies. The pretesting of the women took place during their first trimesters and the posttesting occurred during their last trimesters. A total of 12 Pregnancy Fitness women were tested.

The first control group consisted of 12 women participating in a New Beginnings class. These women did not exercise during their pregnancies. However, they were pretested and posttested identically to the experimental group.

Control groups 2 and 3 together consisted of 130 women enrolled in a Lamaze program. These subjects were classified as exercisers or nonexercisers according to their previous exercise histories and only were posttested in their last trimesters.

Three types of data analysis were used: analysis of variance (ANOVA), Paired-Sample t Test for differences of means between groups, and nonparametric Chi-Square tests for the demographic variables associated with each group.

When the two sets of pre- and the four sets of posttest anxiety scores were analyzed using an ANOVA, the null hypothesis was retained. An ANOVA was also used to analyze the four sets of posttest trait anxiety scores and the null hypothesis again was retained. However, the research hypothesis was supported when the Pregnancy Fitness and New Beginnings pre- versus posttest trait anxiety score differences were compared using the Paired-Sample t Test.

When the demographic hypothesis was analyzed by the Chi-Square test, there were relationships between anxiety and two variables: physical and mental health; no other relationships were found.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access