Positive Mental Well-Being Analysis: Effects of Gender, Age, and Physical Activity

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A paramount approach to understanding mental health in communities is via a positive lens that focuses on the absence of a mental illness and steers away from the common, negative aspects of diagnoses and symptoms. Three elements of positive mental health consist of psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Depression is a prevalent mental illness in all cultures and age groups worldwide, and adolescents are a vulnerable age group for experiencing depressive episodes. Physical activity can have numerous targeted effects on individual health, well-being, and mental health. This descriptive cross-sectional study aimed to explore differences in self-reported mental well-being across different age and gender categories and the relationship between moderate physical activity and mental well-being. A sample of 167 participants ages 13 and older were recruited at community-based events to complete an anonymous self-administered online survey in English or Spanish. Qualtrics was used to disseminate the survey and collect responses. The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS) was used to measure positive mental well-being because it consists of only positively worded items and measures mental well-being. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was also used to measure participants’ physical activity levels. Results showed that full WEMWBS scores did not differ across age, gender, or physical activity categories. Upon exploring individual elements of the study, significance was demonstrated across categories.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Mental Health