Physical Self-Concept and Self-Esteem Mediate Cross-Sectional Relations of Physical Activity and Sport Participation With Depression Symptoms Among Adolescent Girls

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The authors tested whether physical self-concept and self-esteem would mediate cross-sectional relations of physical activity and sport participation with depression symptoms among 1,250 girls in 12th grade. There was a strong positive relation between global physical self-concept and self-esteem and a moderate inverse relation between self-esteem and depression symptoms. Physical activity and sport participation each had an indirect, positive relation with global physical self-concept that was independent of objective measures of cardiorespiratory fitness and body fatness. These correlational findings provide initial evidence suggesting that physical activity and sport participation might reduce depression risk among adolescent girls by unique, positive influences on physical self-concept that operate independently of fitness, body mass index, and perceptions of sports competence, body fat, and appearance.

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