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Am J Public Health. 2015 Jan;105(1):173-179.

Media Use, Sports Participation, and Well-Being in Adolescence: Cross-Sectional Findings From the UK Household Longitudinal Study.

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Cara L. Booker is with the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Colchester, UK. At the time of the study, Alexandra J. Skew was at the Picker Institute Europe, Oxford, UK. Yvonne J. Kelly and Amanda Sacker are with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK.



We investigated the relationship between selected types of screen-based media (SBM) use, total SBM use, sports participation, and markers of well-being.


Data came from the youth panel (nā€‰=ā€‰4899) of Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, conducted in 2009. Well-being was measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and markers of happiness in different life domains.


The majority of young people used multiple types of SBM for at least 1 hour per day; only 30% participated in sports every day. Overall, young people with heavy SBM use were less happy than moderate users and more likely to have socioemotional difficulties. Chatting on social networking Web sites and game console use were associated with higher odds of socioemotional problems. Higher total SBM use was associated with lower odds of happiness and higher odds of socioemotional difficulties. Greater participation in sports was associated with higher odds of happiness and lower odds of socioemotional difficulties.


Further longitudinal research could inform future interventions to reduce sedentary behavior and encourage healthy lifestyles among young people.

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