Associations between screen-time, physical activity and depressive symptoms differ based on gender and screen-time mode
Authors: Chloe Forte, Darragh O’Sullivan, Cillian P. McDowell, Mats Hallgren, Catherine B. Woods, Matthew P. Herring
Published in: European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Short description of the paper:
Research has shown separate positive and negative associations between physical activity and screen-time with depressive symptoms. However, how does screen-time relate with depressive symptoms when we are physically active (or not)? Does the mode of screen-time matter? Does gender matter?
This study examined cross-sectional associations between physical activity level and hours of screen-time modes (TV, computer and phone use), using linear regressions:
1) in the full sample of 1756 Irish adolescents;
2) stratified by physical activity level (low, moderate and high);
3) and stratified by gender.
Results found higher computer and phone use were associated with worse depressive symptoms in the full sample. TV use was not associated with depressive symptoms in the full sample.
When we stratified by physical activity level the findings were mixed. We found reported physical activity level did not necessarily protect against the negative associations between some screen-time modes and depressive symptoms.
Figure 1 displays these associations.
Figure 1: Standardised beta coefficients and 95% confidence intervals for the associations between ST modes with depressive symptoms stratified by PA level
Findings also differed based on gender and screen-time mode. In both males and females, physical activity appeared to moderate the positive association between higher phone use and depressive symptoms. This was not seen in either computer or TV use.
Figures 2 and 3 displays these associations.
Figure 2 & 3: standardised beta coefficients and 95% confidence intervals for the associations between ST modes and depressive symptoms, stratified by PA level for females and males
This study highlights the complex inter-relationship between screen-time and physical activity with depressive symptoms in adolescents. Increasing physical activity and reducing screen-time should be targeted concurrently with consideration given to screen-time mode and gender.