Chinese Journal of Rehabilitation Theory and Practice ›› 2023, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 38-47.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-9771.2023.01.006

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Effects of physical activity on mental and behavioral health and functioning for college students: a systematic review using ICF

YE Lü1, WANG Bin2, QIU Fubing3,4()   

  1. 1. College of Physical Education, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu 225100, China
    2. School of Physical Education, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, China
    3. School of Physical Education, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518060, China
    4. WHO-FIC Collaborating Center in China, Beijing 100068, China
  • Received:2022-09-23 Revised:2022-09-28 Online:2023-01-25 Published:2023-02-17
  • Contact: QIU Fubing, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Foundation Project(18BGL119);Yangzhou University Education Reform Project 2020(YZUJX2020-D13);Humanities and Social Science Foundation of Yangzhou University(136020022)


Objective To construct the physical activity intervention effect category and framework for college students with mental and behavioral health and functioning problems based on International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF).

Methods The typical mental and behavioral health and functioning condition of college students were systematically analyzed using ICF. Relevant literatures about the health and functioning outcomes of college students participating in physical activity were retrieved from the databases of PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCO, and CNKI, from the establishment to August 20th, 2022, and reviewed systematically.

Results Ten English literatures were included, involving ten randomized controlled trials with 848 participants aged 15 to 34 years from seven countries, mainly from the journals of rehabilitation science, sports rehabilitation, rehabilitation psychology and health psychology, and were mainly published after 2016. The typical mental and behavioral health and functioning problems of college students mainly focused on stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, learning fatigue, mobile phone addiction, alcohol drinking disorder, sedentary behavior and physical inactivity. Physical activity interventions included Biodanza, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, basketball, Baduanjin, cycling, swimming, roller skating, baseball, skill training, stretching exercise, resistance training, and aerobic exercise, etc. The frequency of interventions was mainly a long-term (four to 14 weeks, one to three times per week) program of high-, moderate-, or low-intensity physical activity. The health outcomes included improving cognitive function, relieving stress, anxiety, depression and learning fatigue, reducing negative automatic thinking, enhancing mindfulness, reducing loneliness and deficiency, improving sleep quality, improving upper limb muscle endurance; promoting the development of exercise habits, increasing physical activity participation, improving activity performance and academic performance, reducing sedentary behavior, drinking behavior and problematic mobile phone use; increasing social interaction, improving health perception and psychosocial function, enriching and improving recreation and campus life, and improving the quality of interpersonal relationships, quality of life and well-being.

Conclusion A conceptual framework of physical activity participation of college students with mental and behavioral health and functioning problems is constructed using ICF. The typical mental and behavioral health and functioning problems of college students are mainly classified as mental health and functioning problems, behavioral health and functioning problems. The intervention types of physical activity are divided into physical fitness category, skill category, sports category and combination category. Health outcomes can be reflected in three dimensions: physical and mental health, activity and behavioral health, and overall functioning and quality of life.

Key words: International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, college student, physical activity, mental and behavioral problem, health, functioning, rehabilitation, systematic review

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