Adolescents' subjective well-being and physical activity have been found to be correlated in previous studies. However, the underlying mechanisms of this relationship, especially the potential contribution of emotional self-regulation, have received little attention. This study aims to investigate the extent to which emotional self-regulation mediates the association between adolescent physical activity habits and their subjective well-being. The study involved 9585 adolescents who completed a cross-sectional survey. Participants were aged between 10 and 19 years old and attended primary and secondary schools in all 16 regions of Chile. The survey utilized a self-report questionnaire to measure physical activity habits, subjective well-being, and emotional self-regulation. Sociodemographic variables, such as age, gender, and socioeconomic level, were also considered in the analysis. The results showed that physical activity habits, emotional regulation, and subjective well-being were positively correlated. Among these factors, the strongest association was found between subjective well-being and emotional self-regulation. The mediation analysis revealed a partial mediation effect of emotional self-regulation between physical activity habits and subjective well-being. In other words, physical activity habits affect subjective well-being to the extent that these habits affect emotional self-regulation. These findings provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying the link between physical activity habits and subjective well-being among adolescents. They also offer useful information for the development of public programs and policies aimed at promoting physical activity habits and subjective well-being in young people.
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