Exercise Effects on Mental Health of Preschool Children
AbstractThe aim of this study was to identify effects of 2.5-year movement program on mental health of preschool children, in terms of the reduction of symptoms of externalizing and internalizing behavior. The sample consisted of 184 participants of both sexes, aged between 5 and 7; 17 of them took part in the intervention movement program and the remaining 167 participants were chosen randomly and tested on one-time basis in their kindergartens. The Aberrant Behavior Questionnaire (Hošek, Momirović, & Bala, 2003) was applied for examining the symptoms of externalizing and internalizing behavior. The obtained results show that all indicators of externalizing behavior were reduced in intervention group of children with remarkable pattern of changes from the initial, through transitive to the final measurement. At the same time, the intervention program had significantly weaker effects on indicators of internalizing behavior. Even though only the tendencies of reduction of children’s problem behavior were identified, a preventive potential of continuous, planned and regular physical activity on mental health must not be overlooked.
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