Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviors during covid-19: Associations with psychological distress among mothers

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Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic increased mothers’ caregiving demands, potentially placing them at increased risk for reduced engagement in healthful behaviors and high psychological distress. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe perceived changes in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behaviors and the prevalence of different measures of psychological distress (depressive and anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, and positive and negative affect) among mothers. We also evaluated the associations of perceived change in MVPA and sedentary behaviors with measures of psychological distress. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey with 317 mothers living with children (0– 20 years old) at home. Mothers self-reported perceived changes in MVPA and sedentary behaviors from before the pandemic to during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and early reopening, and levels of depression and anxiety symptomatology, perceived stress, and positive and negative affect during the pandemic. Results: Compared to pre-pandemic levels, 39% of mothers reported engaging less in MVPA, and 63% reported engaging in more sedentary activities. One-quarter and 31% of mothers reported moderate/severe depressive and anxiety symptoms, respectively, and 78% medium/ high levels of perceived stress. Adjusted linear regression analyses revealed that reduced MVPA and increased sedentary behaviors were associated with high average scores of depressive and anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, negative affect, and low scores of positive affect. Conclusion: A large proportion of mothers reported being less physically active and more engaged in sedentary behaviors, which were associated with increases in psychological distress. Clinical and public health intervention efforts should consider how to improve mothers’ physical and mental health as the country emerges from this crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1122
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection for the study was supported by Grant Number R01HL116892 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (PI: D Neumark-Sztainer), R01HD090053 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (PI: SM Mason), and 20SGPSR-1YR10FdB from University of Minnesota’s Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute (Co-PIs: JN de Brito, JK Friedman). Training for the first author (JN de Brito) was supported by the NHLBI–Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32 Research on Eating and Activity for Community Health (REACH) Applied Epidemiology Training Program (T32HL150452; PI: D Neumark-Sztainer). Jessica K Friedman's time was supported by the NICHD under R01HD090053 (PI: SM Mason). Rebecca Emery’s time was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences under TL1 TR002493 (PI: Fulkerson) and UL1 TR002494 (PI: Blazar).

Funding Information:
The authors thank the LEAP staff and study participants for their important contributions. Funding Data collection for the study was supported by Grant Number R01HL116892 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (PI: D Neumark-Sztainer), R01HD090053 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (PI: SM Mason), and 20SGPSR-1YR10FdB from University of Minnesota?s Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute (Co-PIs: JN de Brito, JK Friedman). Training for the first author (JN de Brito) was supported by the NHLBI?Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32 Research on Eating and Activity for Community Health (REACH) Applied Epidemiology Training Program (T32HL150452; PI: D NeumarkSztainer). Jessica K Friedman's time was supported by the NICHD under R01HD090053 (PI: SM Mason). Rebecca Emery?s time was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences under TL1 TR002493 (PI: Fulkerson) and UL1 TR002494 (PI: Blazar).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 de Brito et al.

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Mothers
  • Physical activity
  • Stress

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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