School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


D.J. Mattson


Academic Skills, Young Adult, Muscular Endurance, Physical Fitness




The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between physical fitness and academic skills among a group of 110 aircrew flight officers. The study compared Air Force flight officers’ physical fitness scores to academic skills. Prior research suggests a person’s physical fitness levels are directly related to academic skills; however, current research has not addressed a military aviation population. This study used regression analysis to examine the relationship between physical fitness scores as tested by the Air Force physical fitness test (predictor instrument) and academic skills as tested by the Wechsler Fundamentals: Academic Skills Numerical Operations Sub-Test (criterion instrument). The participant population for the study was aircrew flight officers, age range 22 to 40. Recruitment occurred at flying units using a hard copy letter provided for all potential recruits. This study is significant in that it explored the relationships between physical fitness and academic skills in an understudied population of young to middle aged adults. The study results could serve as a decision tool for policy on Air Force physical fitness education programs and the allotment of time for physical fitness during duty hours. Overall, the analysis showed no detectible predictive relationship between physical fitness and academic skills in the officer aircrew sample. A ceiling effect of the measurement instruments given the high achievements in the study sample is a possible explanation. Future studies are recommended with larger sample sizes and broader population demographics.

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