Physical activity, mental health and academic achievement: a cross-sectional study of Norwegian adolescents
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMental Health and Physical Activity. 2020, . 10.1016/j.mhpa.2020.100322
Background The purpose of this study was to describe associations between physical activity (PA), mental health and academic achievement in a Norwegian adolescent cohort. Methods In total, 1001 adolescents were invited to participate, of whom 599 (54.4% female, mean age ± SD 13.3 ± 0.3y) entered the study. PA was measured objectively using accelerometers, variables on mental health were assessed through an online questionnaire and academic achievement was assessed using grade point average (GPA) collected through school records. The associations between PA, mental health and academic achievement were modelled using multiple linear regression. Results PA was positively associated with mental wellbeing (p ≤ .05), self-perception of athletic competence (p ≤ .001) and self-perception of social acceptance (p ≤ .001). It was not associated with global self-esteem or mental health complaints. No significant association between PA and GPA was found. However, results showed a significant association between PA and grade in physical education among girls (p ≤ .001). Conclusion PA was associated with mental wellbeing and domain specific self-esteem although the causal significance of the association requires further investigation. The current study does not support associations between PA and mental health problems or PA and academic achievement. Further studies are necessary to investigate the longitudinal relationship between PA, variables of mental health and academic achievement amongst adolescents.