Liudmila Arcimavičienė, Jūratė Armonienė
Purpose. The aim of this study was to identify and analyse self-identity of Lithuanian youth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it is impacted by their involvement into physical activity and general state of mental health.
Methods. To achieve the above, 140 responses were collected from young Lithuanian adults in the period of three months from September to November of 2021 to 12 closed questions, and 138 responses to 3 open-ended questions. The data was analysed for general statistical trends, with more focus on the content analysis carried out by procedurally applying NVivo 12.0.
Results. The findings pointed out deteriorating physical activity (41%) during the pandemic caused by the factors related to unbalanced mental health (53%), namely anxiety and pandemic-induced fears, frequently experienced sadness, depressive moods and panic attacks. The changes in youth lifestyle such as more sedentary lifestyle and return to onsite learning also contributed to higher levels of stress and discouraged young people from physical activity.
Conclusions. Given the importance of self-identity for adolescents, determining the factors that contribute to the negative changes of its development is crucial. This study has clarified that identity crisis among adolescents can be triggered by deteriorating physical activity that is incited by a set of such mental health related factors as higher levels of anxiety, pandemic-induced fears, a lack of socializing, laziness caused by containment and sedentary lifestyle, and finally school issues aggravated by the return to onsite learning in particular.
Keyword(s): physical activity, psychological health, identity, adolescents, qualitative methodology, content analysis.