The Relationship between Physical Activity in a Natural Environment and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders A Cross-Sectional Study among University Students

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Yilin Li
Maxine Newell


Mental health is a raising concern globally. Anxiety disorders and depression dominate among all mental health problems. Previous studies have shown that physical activity, especially when done in an outdoor natural setting, may have a positive impact on improving mental health including depression and anxiety symptoms. This descriptive correlational study was conducted at Asia-Pacific International University, Thailand to investigate the relationship between physical activity in a natural environment and the occurrence of depressive and anxiety disorder symptoms. In the study conducted, a cross-sectional design was used involving a total of 62 online students who participated in a survey in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results indicated a high prevalence of depressive (67.2%) and anxiety (77%) symptoms ranging from mild to extremely severe. The data were analyzed using Pearson’s correlation. The results showed a weak but insignificant negative (r = – 0.157) correlation between physical activity in a natural environment and anxiety symptoms, and a weak but insignificant positive (r = 0.134) correlation between physical activity in a natural environment and depressive symptoms.

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