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Purpose: This study examined whether depressive symptoms and health-promoting lifestyle behaviors mediate the association between perceived stress and quality of life (QoL) in university students.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional survey, Korean university students (N = 187, Mage = 23.97 years; 54.0% Woman) completed structured questionnaires with psychometric adequacy. A parallel multiple mediation model was used to test the mediating effect of depressive symptoms and health-promoting lifestyle behaviors on the relationship between perceived stress and QoL.
Results: Total effect of perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and health-promoting lifestyle behaviors on QoL was -.55. Of these, total indirect mediating effect was -.50, whereas direct effect was only -.05 in the parallel mediation model. In particular, depressive symptoms (indirect effect = -.32) and healthpromoting lifestyle behaviors (indirect effect = -.18) completely mediated the relationship between perceived stress and QoL.
Conclusion: The results suggest that effective strategies primarily focusing on improving depressive symptoms along with health behaviors are needed to decrease the negative effect of perceived stress on QoL.