Background: The restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have modified the lifestyle of young people, worsening their mental health. Although some countries were allowed to practice outdoor physical activity (PA) in cases of lockdown, the PA level in the general population decreased. The current study aims to assess the differences in fear of COVID-19, anxiety, neuroticism, and general self-efficacy between university students who practiced PA during the second wave of lockdown and those who did not practice any PA. Methods: The sample consisted of 276 university students (176 females, 63.8%; mean age: 22.13, SD: ±3.94) who answered an online questionnaire detecting life habits (e.g., PA practice) during COVID-19 restrictions, fear of COVID-19, anxiety, neuroticism, and general self-efficacy. In addition, a 2 (gender) × 2 (physical activity) MANCOVA model was used to compare the variables’ differences. Finally, a path analysis model was performed to assess the protective effect of physical activity. Results: The students engaging in PA during lockdown showed lower fear of COVID-19, state and trait anxiety, neuroticism, and higher levels of general self-efficacy. Gender differences concerning fear of COVID-19 and a significant interaction with physical activity emerged: physically active females displayed the highest fear of COVID-19 compared to sedentary females and active males. Gender differences also emerged concerning state and trait anxiety and neuroticism. The path analysis model confirmed a light protective effect of sport/PA practice on mitigating neuroticism and anxiety, which, in turn, affect general self-efficacy. Conclusions: According to the results, it emerged that physical activity could represent a protective and educational factor for male students’ mental health during the COVID-19 restriction and partially for female ones.

Ambra Gentile, M.A. (2022). Protective and Educational Effects of Physical Activity Practice on Mental Health in Young Age during COVID-19 Lockdown. SUSTAINABILITY.

Protective and Educational Effects of Physical Activity Practice on Mental Health in Young Age during COVID-19 Lockdown

Ambra Gentile;Marianna Alesi;Barbara Caci
2022-12-31

Abstract

Background: The restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have modified the lifestyle of young people, worsening their mental health. Although some countries were allowed to practice outdoor physical activity (PA) in cases of lockdown, the PA level in the general population decreased. The current study aims to assess the differences in fear of COVID-19, anxiety, neuroticism, and general self-efficacy between university students who practiced PA during the second wave of lockdown and those who did not practice any PA. Methods: The sample consisted of 276 university students (176 females, 63.8%; mean age: 22.13, SD: ±3.94) who answered an online questionnaire detecting life habits (e.g., PA practice) during COVID-19 restrictions, fear of COVID-19, anxiety, neuroticism, and general self-efficacy. In addition, a 2 (gender) × 2 (physical activity) MANCOVA model was used to compare the variables’ differences. Finally, a path analysis model was performed to assess the protective effect of physical activity. Results: The students engaging in PA during lockdown showed lower fear of COVID-19, state and trait anxiety, neuroticism, and higher levels of general self-efficacy. Gender differences concerning fear of COVID-19 and a significant interaction with physical activity emerged: physically active females displayed the highest fear of COVID-19 compared to sedentary females and active males. Gender differences also emerged concerning state and trait anxiety and neuroticism. The path analysis model confirmed a light protective effect of sport/PA practice on mitigating neuroticism and anxiety, which, in turn, affect general self-efficacy. Conclusions: According to the results, it emerged that physical activity could represent a protective and educational factor for male students’ mental health during the COVID-19 restriction and partially for female ones.
Ambra Gentile, M.A. (2022). Protective and Educational Effects of Physical Activity Practice on Mental Health in Young Age during COVID-19 Lockdown. SUSTAINABILITY.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/578771
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