Skip to content

Main Navigation

Testing of an indoor climbing program to promote physical, mental and social well-being for college students

College-aged individuals establish lifestyle and health behaviors that are important for mental and physical health in the life course. Physical activity positively influences body awareness as well as overall well-being among college students. Indoor climbing has been shown to have therapeutic benefits among children and young adults with mental health issues, increase motivational competence and achievement motivation, and improve cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular endurance. Rock-climbing enhances teamwork because of the necessity of climbing partners to assist each other. Therefore, rock-climbing naturally develops comradery and alliances between groups. Despite the increased popularity of climbing sports among young adults, research on indoor climbing and health promotion on college campuses is lacking. Based on social influence theory, this study will examine how an indoor climbing program enhances social network and social capital, socialization, and social norms and as a result promotes health. This project will aim at examining the effectiveness of indoor climbing on health and social behavioral change among college students. In addition, this project will be related to the creation and preliminary testing of a new behavioral intervention. To achieve the specific aims, a mixed-method approach will be used – quantitative pre- and post-surveys and a qualitative method (focus groups).

Current Status

Indoor climbing program

In Fall 2023, we provided the indoor climbing intervention program to undergraduate students at the University of Utah. The participants who completed the program filled out pre- and post- surveys to measure their physical, mental and social health, and attended at least 10 climbing sessions (out of 12 sessions) and a focus group. Nine participants out of 27 finished all the requirements. In Spring 2024, the climbing program started with 45 new participants last week (week of Jan 15). The data from the focus groups in Fall 2023 will be analyzed in February-March 2024. Additional analysis will be conducted after focus groups for Spring 2024 are performed in April. The pre- and post- tests will be examined after the Spring 2024 participants complete the post-test in April 2024.

Interviews with climbers

In Fall 2023, 31 experienced climbers were interviewed regarding their perspectives of the benefits of indoor climbing for their physical, mental and social health. Transcribing all the interviews is being completed. Data analysis will begin this week (week of January 22, 2024). We plan to submit a manuscript from the interviews to a peer-reviewed journal by mid-May, 2024.


Not yet published.  N/A


Akiko Kamimura
College of Social and Behavioral Science
Project Owner

College of Social and Behavioral Science

School of Medicine
Pediatric Administration

College of Health
Parks Recreation And Tourism

Project Info

Funded Project Amount

indoor climbing; college students; health promotion; teamwork; physical health; mental health; social well-being

Project Status
Funded 2023
Last Updated: 9/1/21