Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Vonetta M. Dotson

Second Advisor

Sarah J. Barber

Third Advisor

Rebecca Ellis

Fourth Advisor

Sierra Carter


This study investigated the effects of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors on the relationships among physical activity (PA), mood and cognition in a diverse sample of middle-aged to older adults. Scores on neuropsychological tests and self-report questionnaires from 62 adults were analyzed. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the main and interactive effects of PA and CVD risk burden on cognition and mood when controlling for age and race. CVD risk was associated with greater benefits of PA, while higher CVD risk was associated with either no benefit or lower cognitive scores. Results indicate that middle-aged to older adults with low CVD risk are more likely to benefit from PA, while higher CVD risk might limit the effectiveness of interventions for mood and cognition. Future studies are needed to further clarify individual differences that impact the relationships among PA, CVD risk, and cognitive outcomes.


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