Physical Activity and Mental Health in Adolescents: The mediating effect of Self-Esteem and Body Satisfaction

Helder Miguel Fernandes


Possible psychological mechanisms underlying the association between physical activity and mental health have not been sufficiently studied and tested in adolescents. As such, this study aims to investigate the effects of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in different mental health dimensions (psychological well-being and social anxiety), as well, as the mediation effects of self-esteem and body satisfaction between these variables. Participants were 924 adolescents (530 girls and 394 boys) aged between 12 and 18 years (M = 15.10, SD = 1.78), randomly divided into two sub-samples (calibration and validation) with similar characteristics. The direct and indirect relationships model was tested by using the path analysis technique. The obtained results in both sub-samples confirmed the adequacy of the relationships model suggested (CFI e GFI > .95, RMSEA < .065) and supported the mediation effect of self-esteem on nearly all of the well-being and social anxiety dimensions, with the exception of the direct effect of physical activity on purpose in life. These results are discussed in the context of previous findings and practical implications are provided. 


Physical activity; Psychological well-being; Social anxiety; Adolescents; Path analysis

Full Text:

PDF (Español)

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Copyright (c) 2018