Background: Effective social problem-solving abilities can contribute to decreased risk of poor mental health. In addition, physical activity has a favorable effect on mental health. These previous studies suggest that physical activity and social problem-solving ability can interact by helping to sustain mental health. The present study aimed to determine the association between attitude and practice of physical activity and social problem-solving ability among university students. Methods: Information on physical activity and social problem-solving was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. We analyzed data from 185 students who participated in the questionnaire surveys and psychological tests. Social problem-solving as measured by the Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised (SPSI-R) (median score 10.85) was the dependent variable. Multiple logistic regression analysis was employed to calculate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for higher SPSI-R according to physical activity categories. Results: The multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the ORs (95% CI) in reference to participants who said they never considered exercising were 2.08 (0.69-6.93), 1.62 (0.55-5.26), 2.78 (0.86-9.77), and 6.23 (1.81-23.97) for participants who did not exercise but intended to start, tried to exercise but did not, exercised but not regularly, and exercised regularly, respectively. This finding suggested that positive linear association between physical activity and social problem-solving ability (p value for linear trend < 0.01). Conclusions: The present findings suggest that regular physical activity or intention to start physical activity may be an effective strategy to improve social problem-solving ability.
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