A Path Model of the Relationship between Mood, Exercise Behavior, Coping, and Mental Health among Malaysians during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 13;19(10):5939. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19105939.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the mood, physical activity, coping, and mental health of Malaysians during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional study was conducted via an online survey, with self-administered questionnaires. The respondents were recruited using snowball sampling techniques. The Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS), the Exercise Regulations in Exercise-3 (BREQ-3), the Brief Coping Orientation of Problem Experienced (Brief COPE), and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21) were used. A path analysis was conducted on the data. A total of 842 people participated in the survey. The mean age of participants was 22 years (interquartile range = 6) and 24.0% were male. The final path model fitted the data well, with a comparative fit index of 0.998, a Tucker-Lewis index of 0.988, a standardized root mean square residual of 0.001, and a root mean square error of approximation of 0.072. In this study, there were significant path relationships between mood, exercise behavior, coping, and mental health. Additionally, it was demonstrated that the variables of mood, exercise behavior, and coping have both direct and indirect effects on mental health. The results also suggested that utilizing appropriate coping skills, exercise behavior, and positive mood can directly lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, and that appropriate coping skills and positive mood can directly affect exercise behavior.

Keywords: COVID-19; anxiety; depression; psychology; stress; structural equation modelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Pandemics
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia, for the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), with the project code: FRGS/1/2020/SKK06/USM/03/13.