Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: an updated review of reviews and an analysis of causality

Biddle, Stuart J. H. and Ciaccioni, Simone and Thomas, George and Vergeer, Ineke (2019) Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: an updated review of reviews and an analysis of causality. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 42. pp. 146-155. ISSN 1469-0292

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Abstract

Objectives: Evidence concerning physical activity and mental health remains less well documented for children and adolescents. An updated review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses was undertaken concerning physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents, and to judge the extent to which associations can be considered causal.

Methods: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were identified to update our previous review of reviews (Biddle & Asare, 2011), with papers identified between November 2010 and the end of 2017. Criteria were used to judge causality (Hill, 1965), including strength of association, dose-response association, and experimental evidence.

Results: Since 2011, the quantity (k = 42 reviews) and quality of research has increased in depression (evidence from 10 reviews), self-esteem (10 reviews) and cognitive functioning (25 reviews). Anxiety had only three new, small, reviews. Intervention effects for depression are moderate in strength while observational data show only small or null associations. Variable effect sizes are evident from interventions for the reduction of anxiety and improvement in self-esteem. Higher or improved fitness and physical activity are associated with better cognitive health and performance. There was partial support for a causal association with depression, a lack of support for self-esteem, but support for cognitive functioning.

Conclusions: There are significant increases in research activity concerning physical activity and depression, self-esteem, and cognitive functioning in young people. The strongest evidence for a causal association appears to be for cognitive functioning, and there is partial evidence for depression.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Submitted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health, Informatics and Economic Research (1 Aug 2018 - 31 Mar 2020)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health, Informatics and Economic Research (1 Aug 2018 - 31 Mar 2020)
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2020 02:00
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 04:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: anxiety; cognitive function; depression; self-esteem
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.08.011
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36662

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