Anxiety and Stress in Adolescents and Short Bout of Exercise
Objective: We aimed to investigate the immediate effect of a 10-minute dodgeball exercise session, with and without a VR headset, on self-reported stress, anxiety and cognitive performance in adolescents during times known to induce stress in high school, such as exam weeks. Materials and Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to a VR group (N=16) where participants were immersed in a virtual dodgeball environment, or a dodgeball group (N=14) which played a simple game of one-on-one dodgeball. Executive function was measured using the Trail Making Test (TMT) Parts A & B. Anxiety was self-reported on the Pediatric Anxiety Short Form 8a (PASF). Stress was self-reported on the Psychological Stress Experiences-Short Form 8a (PSES). Results: Both groups significantly improved their TMT A & B performance and reduced stress and anxiety scores with effect size ranging from 0.59 to 1.2 (main effect of time P<0.001 for all outcomes). There were no significant differences between groups and no time by group interaction for any outcome.