No sports – no mental health? Analysis of longitudinal effects in SHP data.

Ajdacic-Gross, Vladeta; Schumacher-Dimech, Annemarie; Rössler, Wulf (24 February 2006). No sports – no mental health? Analysis of longitudinal effects in SHP data. In: 3rd International Conference of Panel Data Users in Switzerland. Neuchatel.

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Results from the Zurich study have shown lasting associations between sport practice and mental health. The effects are pronounced in people with pre-exising mental health problems. This analysis aims to replicate these results with the large Swiss Household Panel data set and to provide more differentiated results. The analysis covered the interviews 1999-2003 and included 3891 stayers, i.e., participants who were interviewed in all years. The outcome variables are depression / blues / anxiety, weakness / weariness, sleeping problems, energy / optimism. Confounding variables include sex, age, education level, citizenship. The analyses were carried out with mixed models (depression, optimism) and GEE models (weakness, sleep). About 60% of the SHP participants practise weekly or daily an individual or a team sport. A similar proportion enjoys a frequent physical activity (for half an hour minimum) which makes oneself slightly breathless. There are slight age-specific differences but also noteworthy regional differences. Practice of sport is clearly interrelated with self-reported depressive symptoms, optimism and weakness. This applies even though some relevant confounders – sex, educational level and citizenship – were introduced into the model. However, no relevant interaction effects with time could be shown. Moreover, direct interrelations commonly led to better fits than models with lagged variables, thus indicating that delayed effects of sport practice on the self-reported psychological complaints are less important. Model variants resulted for specific subgroups, for example, participants with a high vs. low initial activity level. Lack of sport practice is an interesting marker for serious psychological symptoms and mental disorders. The background of this association may differ in different subgroups, and should stimulate further investigations in this area.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Science II

UniBE Contributor:

Schumacher-Dimech, Anne Marie


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Anne Marie Schumacher-Dimech

Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2015 16:30

Last Modified:

08 Jun 2015 16:30

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