Mahabhir Kandola’s MSc Thesis Proposal

Title: “Evaluation of Mind Fit: a mental and physical wellness intervention for adolescents”

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Guy Faulkner
Committee Members: Dr. Erica Lau (UBC Center for Hip Health and Mobility), Dr. Peter Crocker

Chair: Dr Brian Wilson

Abstract: The worldwide prevalence of poor mental health among children and adolescents is increasing, and those experiencing low mood are less likely to participate in physical activity (PA) than their peers. Depression and anxiety are the most common psychological disorders afflicting adolescents and forecast a broad range of psychosocial difficulties and ill health in adult life, therefore early intervention is a critical window of opportunity to improve prognosis. Community-based PA interventions can provide a low-cost, easily accessible solution to improve mental and physical health and wellbeing – but how do we effectively deliver interventions at scale? In partnership with YMCA locations in British Columbia (BC), Mind Fit is an 8-week community-based PA intervention designed for adolescents experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms of depression and/or anxiety disorders. Each weekly session combines 1-hour of mental wellness discussions and 1-hour of PA education in a group-based setting to help teens incorporate PA into their mental wellness plan.

The aim of this proposed study is to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of Mind Fit from 2018 to 2020. The research aims are to: 1) evaluate the acute and long-term effects of Mind Fit on targeted program outcomes; 2) assess the levels of program implementation; 3) identify and examine users’ preferences of program elements and components that contribute to program successes; and 4) examine facilitators and barriers related to program implementation and sustainability. This will be achieved through the measurement of primary outcomes including: 1) habitual PA behavior (GLEQ); 2) depression symptom severity (PHQ-9); 3) anxiety symptom severity (GAD-7); and 4) PA motivation (TaylorActive Questionnaire) using self-report surveys administered during the first and last program sessions. Telephone interviews will be conducted with program staff and teens to assess factors of program implementation and collect qualitative feedback.

Ultimately, this project will contribute to our understanding of the effectiveness of community-based PA interventions in improving mental and physical health outcomes for adolescents experiencing mild-to-moderate depression and/or anxiety and the factors of implementation which may improve program effectiveness.