How Physical Activity Improves the Mental Health of Adolescents

Paige Brooks, Hal VanLandingham, and Dr. Judith Rodriguez, University of North Florida 1 UNF Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32224

For this systematic review, we are examining the impact of physical activity (PA) on anxiety and depression in adolescents. We hypothesize that frequent PA will lower depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. A literature search was conducted using PubMed. Selected articles included academic journals and peer-reviewed articles published within the years 2015 - 2020. Eighteen articles were found, of these, 10 met the search criteria and were used in the analysis. Different statistical tests were used in these articles including t-tests and linear regression models. These tests were used to determine if there was a significant difference between the mental well-being experienced by individuals exposed to various levels of PA. Of these 10, eight articles supported our hypothesis that PA improves mental health by lessening both depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. One article provides promising evidence that low-to-moderate PA improves the mental health of adolescents along with lowering their stress and anxiety levels. One study established that higher parental involvement and their continued encouragement for PA will promote increased PA in adolescents and therefore lead to lower anxiety levels. Although we did find promising support for our hypothesis from these articles, a conclusion cannot be established as there is still much research to be done on this youth health issue. Parental encouragement of PA, PA promotion, and adolescent involvement could be the beginning steps to bettering adolescent mental health in our communities. These small lifestyle changes can have beneficial impacts on lowering depression and anxiety in adolescent individuals. If further research is successful in supporting this evidence, we want to advocate for implementing regular physical activity into adolescents’ daily routines in our local Jacksonville communities. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Paige Brooks, Hal VanLandingham

Institution: University of North Florida

Type: Poster

Subject: Health & Human Development

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5102