Physical Activity Protects Against the Negative Impact of Coronavirus Fear on Adolescent Mental Health and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2021)
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Abstract

Background: The severity of the Coronavirus pandemic has led to lockdowns in different countries to reduce the spread of the infection. These lockdown restrictions are likely to be detrimental to mental health and well-being in adolescents. Physical activity can be beneficial for mental health and well-being; however, research has yet to examine associations between adolescent physical activity and mental health and well-being during lockdown.Purpose: Examine the effects of adolescent perceived Coronavirus prevalence and fear on mental health and well-being and investigate the extent to which physical activity can be a protective factor against these concerns.Methods: During United Kingdom lockdown restrictions, 165 participants completed an online questionnaire assessing perceived Coronavirus prevalence and fear, physical activity, and indicators of mental health and well-being. Separate hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were run to predict each well-being outcome.Results: Regression analyses indicated that in general, while Coronavirus fear was a negative predictor, physical activity was a positive and stronger predictor of enhanced mental health and well-being outcomes.Conclusion: Findings suggest that physical activity during the Coronavirus pandemic can counteract the negative effects of Coronavirus fear on adolescent mental health and well-being. Therefore, physical activity should be promoted during lockdown to support good mental health and well-being.

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