Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Lindsay Morton




emotion, regulation, intensity, exercise, effect


There is a substantial body of research on the effect that exercise has on emotion and on self-regulation. However, there has not been a great deal of research on the effect that exercise has on emotion regulation, which is crucial for normal functioning in society. Thus, this thesis investigated the relationship between physical activity and emotion regulation. Forty-five Union College students participated in the study. Individuals first filled out various questionnaires relating to physical activity and emotion regulation and then were asked to bike in the lab for a 20-minute period. Participants were randomly assigned to either the low-intensity or high-intensity condition and upon completion of the exercise manipulation, individuals engaged in an emotion regulation task. It was hypothesized that individuals in the high-intensity condition would be better at utilizing the three main emotion regulation strategies of attentional deployment, cognitive reappraisal, and expression suppression in response to the negative images in the emotion regulation task. The hypotheses were not supported as there were no significant differences between the high-intensity and low-intensity-conditions on the emotion regulation task. Limitations of the experimental design may have contributed to this lack of findings. Thus, although the main hypotheses were not supported, the effect that exercise has on emotion regulation is an important question in today’s society and should be continued to be studied in the future.