OBJECTIVE: This systematic review explored the effectiveness of using physical activity (PA) interventions to enhance psychological well-being and reduce psychological ill-being (e.g., anxiety, depression) in children aged six to 11 years old from the general population. METHODS: Electronic databases were searched for studies published between January 2005 and June 2020: Web of Science, ProQuest Psychology Journals, PsycINFO, Pub Med, ASSIA, CINHAL PLUS, SPORTDiscus, EMBASE and Wiley Online Library. Search terms included "physical activity intervention", "psychological well-being", and "child*". After removing duplicates, 11,390 studies were independently screened by two authors based on inclusion/exclusion criteria and assessed for risk of bias. RESULTS: A total of 23 studies were narratively synthesised and categorised into four domains: Quality of Life (QOL), body image, self-esteem, and psychological ill-being. Evidence was provided for the impact of PA interventions in improving QOL, body image and self-esteem. Despite the positive effect on psychological well-being, evidence for a reduction in the frequency and severity of symptoms associated with psychological ill-being in children is less clear. CONCLUSIONS: Reviewed studies support the use of PA interventions in enhancing the psychological well-being of children in school and community settings. More research is warranted to understand the impact of PA interventions on reducing psychological ill-being in children from the general population.
- mental health
- physical activity intervention
- young people