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Impact on adolescent mental health of replacing screen-use with exercise: A prospective cohort study

Kandola, A; Del Pozo Cruz, B; Hayes, JF; Owen, N; Dunstan, DW; Hallgren, M; (2022) Impact on adolescent mental health of replacing screen-use with exercise: A prospective cohort study. Journal of Affective Disorders 10.1016/j.jad.2021.12.064. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Screen-based device use could increase the risk of adolescent depression. Distinct modalities of screen-use may have differential effects on mental health. We used compositional data analysis to examine how theoretically replacing different screen-uses with exercise might influence future adolescent emotional distress. METHODS: In 4,599 adolescents (55% female) from a nationally-representative, prospective cohort, we used time-use diary data at age 14 to estimate daily screen use (television, social media, video game, general computer use) and exercise (team sport and individual exercise). The outcome was emotional distress at age 17, assessed using the emotional symptoms subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. RESULTS: Theoretically replacing 60 minutes of total screen time with exercise at age 14 was associated with a 0.05 (95%CI -0.08, -0.02) score reduction on the emotional symptoms' subscale at 17 in fully-adjusted models. Replacing 60 minutes of television or social media use with team sports was associated with a reduction of 0.17 (95%CI, -0.31, -0.04) and 0.15 (95%CI, -0.29, -0.01) in emotional symptom scores, respectively. We found no change in emotional symptom scores when replacing video game or general computer use with team sport, or when replacing any screen time with individual exercise. LIMITATIONS: No direct measure of depressive symptoms at follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Replacing any screen time with exercise could reduce emotional distress, but the largest effect sizes were associated with replacing time in television watching and social media with team sports. Recommendations to limit screen-use in adolescents may require a nuanced approach for protecting mental health.

Type: Article
Title: Impact on adolescent mental health of replacing screen-use with exercise: A prospective cohort study
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.12.064
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.12.064
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. © 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Keywords: Depression, distress, physical activity, screen time, sedentary behaviour
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141826
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