HALO Scientist Dr. Katie Gunnell presented research at the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Convention in Toronto as the Sport and Exercise Section Featured Speaker.

Presentation Title: Examining the links between exercise, sedentary time, screen time, and psychosocial indicators of health in children and youth


Approximately 10-20% of Canadian children and youth have a diagnosed mental disorder and these prevalence rates are increasing. Mental disorders and their associated symptoms can cause considerable personal and economic burden. Since many mental disorders or symptoms begin in early childhood, this represents a key period for intervention. For decades, researchers have shown that exercise can have favourable effects on symptoms of mental disorders and can enhance positive psychological health. More recently, with the release of Canada’s 24 Hour Movement Guidelines, researchers have recognized that there is an important interplay between exercise and other behaviours that children and youth engage in during a typical day. That is, exercise, sleep, sedentary time, and screen time can interact to effect psychological health in children and youth. In this presentation, I will review research that has been conducted to examine the unique effects of exercise and other behaviours such as screen time, sedentary time, and sleep as factors associated with psychosocial health. I will also present results from my program of research, which has examined reciprocal effects between exercise and psychological health in children and youth. Finally, I will outline limitations of previous work and suggest future avenues of research.