Montreal: A new study led by Marie-Josie Herbeck, a psychologist at the University of Montreal, found that boys who participate in childhood sports have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety in mid-childhood.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.


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Research has also shown that boys who experience less emotional distress in middle age are also more physically active during early adolescence. In the study, “We wanted to clarify the long-term and interrelationships between participation in sports and the symptoms of depression and anxiety among school-age children,” said Hardek, who worked as a doctoral student under the supervision of UdeM psycho-education professor Linda Pagani.

“We also wanted to test whether this relationship works differently between boys and girls aged 5 to 12,” said Herbeck, who practices paganism at CHU Stay-Justin Children’s Hospital.

Harbeck added, “There is widespread evidence of a crisis in childhood physical inactivity today and it could ultimately have an impact on mental and physical health.”

Herbeck and Pagani examined the sports and physical activity habits reported by children aged 5 to 12 and their parents, and also observed signs of emotional distress between the ages of 6 and 10, which the children’s teachers reported.

“We found that 5-year-old boys who had never participated in sports looked unhappy and tired between the ages of 6 and 10, had difficulty having fun, cried a lot and became frightened or anxious,” said the senior author of the study.

“Also, boys who showed high levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms in middle age were subsequently less physically active at age 12. On the other hand, we did not find any significant changes in girls,” Pagani added.

In collaboration with researchers at McGill University and the Children’s Hospital of the Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Herbeck and Pagani examined data from a Quebec team born in 1997 and 1998, which is part of a study on child development conducted by the Institute de la Statistic du. Quebec.

Parents of 690 boys and 748 girls reported their participation in sports last year at the age of 5 and their weekly physical activity at the age of 12; Their teachers assessed the symptoms of mental distress observed in school from the age of 10 years.

Data were stratified by gender to identify any significant connection between physical activity and mental distress.

Many confusing issues were dismissed, Herbeck said.

Herbeck added, “Our goal was to eliminate any pre-existing conditions in the child or family that could shed different light on our outcomes, such as child temperament, parental education or family income.”

Boys who engage in sports in preschool may benefit from physical activities that help them develop life skills such as taking initiatives, working in groups and practicing self-control, and building supportive relationships with their peers and adult coaches and coaches, the researchers said.

“Conversely, boys who experience symptoms of depression and anxiety may be more socially isolated, and their energy levels decrease and there is less feeling of efficiency, which can negatively affect engagement in physical activity,” Pagani said.

For girls, the risks of depression and anxiety and protective factors work differently, Herbeck said.

Girls are more likely than boys to express emotional distress to family, friends or health care providers and provide emotional support from their social bonds.

“Also, since more girls than boys experience emotional distress, this gender-related risk may lead to early detection and intervention of girls,” and therefore protect them from further harm.

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