Study aim: To identify symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in Brazilian university students of both sexes and the association of physical activity parameters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Material and methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted from March to April 2021. Data on occupational and social variables and mental health symptoms were investigated using the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Hamilton depression rating scale, and Perceived Stress Scale questionnaires. Physical activity levels were assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Results: In total, 277 college students over eighteen years old participated in the study (66% female; 46.7% brown race). Higher scores and symptoms of anxiety and depression were observed in women (p < 0.0001). Anxiety symptoms were negatively associated with physical activity levels in women. Sedentary time, including sitting correlated with depression scores in women (r = 0.171; p < 0.05).

Conclusions: University students are a risk group for the appearance of symptoms related to mental health. In addition, these disorders occur more frequently in females, and sedentary habits, such as more time sitting, were related to higher scores in depression and anxiety.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Basic Medical Science, other, Clinical Medicine, Public Health, Sports and Recreation, Physical Education