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The presentation of unhealthy psychological symptoms are rising sharply in adolescents. Detrimental lifestyle behaviours are pro-posed as both possible causes and consequences. This study set out to compare selected measures of quality and quantity of movement between adolescents with and without unhealthy psychological symptoms. Using a cross sectional design, 96 participants completed the study from a whole year group of 166, age (13.36 ± 0.48) male 50.6% from a secondary school in Oxford-shire, England as a part of a larger study (EPIC) between January and April 2018. Measures were taken of quality and quantity of movement: reaction/movement time, gait pattern & physical ac-tivity, alongside psychological symptoms. Differences in movement behaviour in relation to psychological symptom and emotional problem presentation were determined using ANOVA. In the event of a significant result for the main factor of each param-eter, a Bonferroni-corrected post hoc test was conducted to show the difference between categories in each group. Results for both unhealthy psychological symptoms and emotional problems were grouped into four categories (‘Close to average’, ‘slightly raised’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’). Early adolescents with very high unhealthy psychological symptoms had 16.79% slower reaction times (p = 0.003, ηp2 = 0.170), 13.43% smaller walk ratio (p = 0.007, ηp2 = 0.152), 7.13% faster cadence (p = 0.005, ηp2 = 0.149), 6.95% less step time (p = 0.007, ηp2 = 0.153) and 1.4% less vigorous physical activity (p = 0.04, ηp2 = 0.102) than children with close to average psychological symptoms. Early adolescents with very high emotional problems had 12.25% slower reaction times (p = 0.05, ηp2 = 0.081), 10.61% smaller walk ratio (p = 0.02, ηp2 = 0.108), 6.03% faster cadence (p = 0.01, ηp2 = 0.134), 6.07% shorter step time (p = 0.007, ηp2 = 0.141) and 1.78% less vigorous physical activity (p = 0.009, ηp2 = 0.136) than children with close to average emotional problems. Different movement quality and quantity of was present in adolescents with unhealthy psychological symptoms and emotional problems. We propose movement may be used to both monitor symptoms, and as a novel therapeu-tic behavioural approach. Further studies are required to confirm our findings.


Journal article


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

Publication Date





364 - 373