Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Michele McGrady

Second Advisor

Robert Bensley

Third Advisor

Karen Horneffer-Ginter


The intention of this research project is to provide a snapshot of current sedentary behavior and stress levels of undergraduate students at Western Michigan University (WMU). This project investigates two variables of interest in current undergraduate students at WMU to understand how much sedentary behavior and stress students are experiencing whilst pursuing their undergraduate degree. Both sedentary behavior and stress are often seen as underlying causes of multiple health issues, which is why they are variables of interest. Understanding these two variables can help the university support aspects of an undergraduate’s life affected by increased stress and sedentary behavior while providing a foundation for future research.

The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were used to investigate experiences with sedentary behavior and stress levels in undergraduate students. After a four-week recruitment period that offered incentives for participants completing the survey, 380 responses were recorded. Each participant received the same survey, and their responses were kept anonymous. This report contains results from the IPAQ topic areas of transportation, leisure time spent doing moderate to vigorous activity, and leisure time spent sitting on both week and weekend days. From the PSS, a sum of all answered questions was used to derive a stress rating for the undergraduate sample surveyed.

The main questions our research aimed to answer are as follows:

• How much sedentary behavior are undergraduate students engaging in?

• How much perceived stress are undergraduate students experiencing?

• How do undergraduate students like to receive health-related information?

After analyzing descriptive and frequency data, additional questions that we hope to answer in future research are as follows:

• Do undergraduate students engage in promoted wellness/well-being offerings?

• How can we best prepare undergraduate students for the demands of their careers?

• And how can we help students develop healthy habits they will carry through life?

With the data, we will answer the main research questions and provide a foundation for future research intended to help understand how sedentary behavior and stress levels are affecting undergraduate students and their experiences pursuing an academic degree.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Putman Infographic.pdf (115 kB)

Putman_Article.pdf (83 kB)

Thesis Presentation_Putman.pdf (1011 kB)
Defense Presentation

Putman_Budget.pdf (86 kB)