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Curr Psychol ; : 1-9, 2021 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2325644


COVID-19-related burden has a significant impact on mental health and has led to an increase of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Physical activity has been suggested to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic and to foster mental health. The present study aimed to investigate, whether sense of control might mediate the supposed beneficial effects of physical activity on positive (PMH) and negative mental health (NMH) in unpredictable extraordinary situations. Data were assessed in a sample of 568 students (M age = 19.90, SD age = 4.52) from Germany via an online survey in fall 2020. Mediation analyses revealed that sense of control mediated the relation between physical activity and PMH as well as depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, respectively. The findings indicate that physical activity may be a promising strategy for fostering sense of control and thus mental health. Due to its practical implications and practicability, engagement in physical activity could be an effective way to reduce the NMH consequences of the current COVID-19 situation, and therefore should be addressed in actions for long-term prevention and intervention.