Laurier C, Pascuzzo K, Beaulieu G. (2021). Uncovering the personal and environmental factors associated with youth mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: The pursuit of sports and physical activity as a protective factor. Traumatology.
With recent research underscoring the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents’ well-being, greater insight into the protective factors that buffer against the negative consequences of the pandemic on youth mental health merits greater attention. The goal of this quantitative study was to examine associations between adolescents’ attachment to parents and peers, their participation in sports before and during the confinement, and the severity of their psychological distress. A total of 133 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 took part in an online survey including the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment, the Psychological Distress Index, and questions regarding their involvement in physical activity before and during confinement. Overall, findings highlight participants’ high levels of total psychological distress, with girls reporting more severe symptoms. However, results of correlational analyses showed that adolescents reporting greater attachment security to parents and peers showed fewer symptoms of total distress as well as fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability. Participation in organized sports prior to confinement and time devoted to physical or sports activities in the last week were not significantly correlated with the Psychological Distress Index subscales. However, results of hierarchical regression analyses revealed that youth participation in sports prior to confinement moderated the association between time devoted by adolescents to physical or sports activities in the last week and symptoms of depression, above and beyond the influence of attachment security to parents and peers. The importance of quality relationships and physical activity for youth adaptation during confinement is discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)