Dr Jordan Smith


Physical activity, fitness and resilience to stress during the final years of schooling 

The final years of schooling are highly stressful for many students, and evidence shows a spike in stress-related mental disorders during this period. Physical activity (PA) is an often-cited strategy for coping with stress, but only 6% of older adolescents meet national PA recommendations. Although stress reduction is a readily recalled benefit of PA, exactly ‘how’ PA confers this benefit remains unclear. The Cross-Stressor Adaptation Hypothesis posits that the ‘physical’ stress of PA leads to physiological adaptations that promote resilience to ‘psychosocial’ stressors. This presentation describes recent research with older adolescents aimed at understanding the impacts and underlying mechanisms of PA on stress in this priority population. 

About Jordan: Dr Jordan Smith completed his PhD at the University of Newcastle (UoN) in 2015 and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at UoN. Dr Smith has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, along with three invited book chapters. His work has attracted over 3000 citations, and he currently has a Google Scholar H-index of 25. Dr Smith has received competitive research funding from the NHMRC (as CI), industry partners (as CI and PI), and philanthropy (as PI) for the design, implementation and evaluation of physical activity interventions for school-aged youth. Dr Smith has a particular interest in the promotion of health behaviours such as physical activity for supporting the mental health of children and adolescents, using schools as the primary intervention setting.