The transition from adolescence into emerging adulthood is marked by changes in both physical activity and substance use. This systematic review characterized associations between movement behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behavior) and frequently used substances (alcohol, cannabis) among adolescents and emerging adults to inform lifestyle interventions that target multiple behavior change outcomes. This systematic review was guided by PRISMA. Electronic databases of PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science were searched from inception through June 25, 2019. The search was designed to identify empirical studies reporting an association between physical activity or sedentary behavior and alcohol or cannabis, with search criteria determining eligibility based on several sampling characteristics (e.g., participants under 25 years of age). After identifying and screening 5,610 studies, data were extracted from 97 studies. Physical activity was positively associated with alcohol use among emerging adults, but the literature was mixed among adolescents. Sedentary behavior was positively associated with alcohol and cannabis use among adolescents, but evidence was limited among emerging adults. Self-report measures were used in all but one study to assess these behaviors. Physical activity is linked to greater alcohol use among emerging adults. Whereas existing studies demonstrate that sedentary behavior might serve as a risk marker for alcohol and cannabis use among adolescents, additional primary research is needed to explore these associations in emerging adults. Future work should also use device-based measures to account for timing of and contextual features surrounding activity and substance use in these populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience