Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Brain Cohen




exercise, stress management, athletes, cortisol


For years, it has been understood that exercising helps to cope with mental stress. Based on this presumption, this study set out see if there was a difference in stress levels between student athletes and student non-athletes. It was hypothesized that with the amount of exercise that student athletes endure, they would cope differently with stress than student non-athletes, who do not have such a strict exercise regimen. To test this theory, athlete participants were recruited from the Union College hockey teams and non-athletes were recruited from the general Union College student population. Using self reported surveys, individuals in both groups recorded their stress levels for four different weeks throughout the course of the trimester (specifically weeks 1, 5, 7, and 10). Obvious differences in stress levels between the two groups became apparent upon analysis. While average stress levels of the non-athlete population trended upwards throughout the term, the average stress levels of the athlete population began high in week 1 as compared to the non-athletes but remained constant throughout the term. Comparing the results from the surveys to salivary cortisol (a stress hormone) levels, could serve as a supplementary method for tracking this comparison in stress.