Association between changes in physical activity levels and depressive symptoms in high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gicele de Oliveira Karini da Cunha, Gabriel Barros da Cunha, Tiago Wally Hartwig, Gabriel Gustavo Bergmann

Submited: 2021-10-01 11:56:33 | Published: 2022-01-31 06:21:13

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5027/jmh-Vol19-Issue1(2022)art145

Objective: The study examined the association between depressive symptoms (DS) and perceptions of changes in the physical activity (PA) levels in high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: 186 students of a federal education institution from southern Brazil participated in the study. Perception of changes in the PA levels during the pandemic and the DS were collected through questionnaires in an electronic form. DS was scored and classified in low or increased depressive symptoms. Results: 60.8% of students showed increased depressive symptoms, being more frequent (75.6%) among girls (p<0.05). Regarding the PA levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, 70.4% of students reported a reduction in general PA, 54.3% to light PA, 67.2% to moderate PA, and 72.0% to vigorous PA, being the decrease in light and moderate PA more frequent among girls (p<0.05). Students who reported unfavorable changes in PA during the COVID-19 pandemic are about three times more likely to present increased depressive symptoms (p<0.05). Conclusion: Therefore, this result indicates that PA reduction levels during the pandemic are associated with higher DS among high school students at a federal educational institution in southern Brazil.


da Cunha G, da Cunha G, Hartwig T, Bergmann G. Association between changes in physical activity levels and depressive symptoms in high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journ. M. Health. 2022;19(1). Disponible en: doi:10.5027/jmh-Vol19-Issue1(2022)art145 [Accessed 9 dic. 2022].
da Cunha, G., da Cunha, G., Hartwig, T., & Bergmann, G. (2022). Association between changes in physical activity levels and depressive symptoms in high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Movement & Health, 19(1). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/jmh-Vol19-Issue1(2022)art145

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