The effectiveness of structured sport and exercise interventions in enhancing the mental health of adolescents with mild to moderate mental health problems: a systematic review
Between 10% and 20% of adolescents globally have a diagnosed mental health disorder and a big proportion of individuals experience their first mental health problem during adolescence. However, limited research has investigated how an adult-led structured sport and exercise intervention can be used to support adolescents with mild to moderate mental health problems. A systematic review of the literature (five databases) was performed. Included studies (qualitative and quantitative) explored structured sport and exercise interventions aiming to help adolescents (aged 10–19 years) experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems. From 3506 studies screened, nine met the inclusion criteria (RCT = 6 and non-RCT = 3) following the PICOS, TIDieR frameworks and assessing quality of studies using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Activities included a group-based circuit training, high-intensity interval training, dance, group-based aerobic exercise, mindfulness-based Tai Chi Chuan and rugby. All included studies showed clinical improvements in adolescents’ anxiety or depression (anxiety, n = 5 and depression, n = 7). There is evidence that structured sport and exercise interventions can support adolescents with mild to moderate mental health problems. However, more research is needed to understand the mechanisms of how these outcomes are achieved, specifically using well-designed interventions tailored to specific exercises/sports, populations, and mental health outcomes.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Published inInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
PublisherInforma UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
- VoR (Version of Record)
Rights holder© The Author(s)
Publisher statementThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.