Rating physical activity versus physical and mental health of indigenous and migrant junior population of north of siberia

PhD V.A. Lobova1
Associate Professor, PhD A.V. Mironov1
Dr.Hab., Associate Professor V.A. Mishchenko1
Dr.Hab., Professor S.A. Gilmanov1
1Yugra State University, Khanty-Mansiysk

Keywords: health, physical activity, adolescents, psychoactive substances, autonomic disorders, psychological status.

Background. Physical activity is ranked among the key factors of good physical and mental health and cognitive activity of adolescent population [6], and this is the reason why the national and foreign analysts are so concerned about the growing physical inactivity of this age group and the relevant health disorders [5, 7-10]. This holds true for the indigenous and migrant teenage population of the Russian North [5, 6]. Autonomic dysfunctions found in 20-30% of this age group are reported among its main health problems triggered by physical inactivity and considered a marginal health condition that may result in a serious disease. Many recent studies have found that this pathology is largely provoked both by physical inactivity and associating mental issues plus addictions to psychoactive agents [2, 3].

Objective of the study was to to profile the physical inactivity and addictions to psychoactive agents (tobacco and alcohol) versus the physical/ mental health test data of the adolescent population of Siberian North.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the study were the 12-14 year-old (13,39±0,61) schoolchildren (n=770) including 370 girls (48% of the sample) and 400 boys (52%) from 7 public schools of the North of Siberia; with 52 individuals diagnosed with autonomic functionality disorders. Applied for the study purposes were the following methods: questionnaire surveys; interviews; Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale (TMAS); Self Rating Depression (SDS); State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI); Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI); Buss-Durkee Inventory (BDI); and Adolescent о rodicich- (‘Adolescents about parents’, ADOR) tests.

Study findings and discussion. Physical inactivity was diagnosed in 40.6% of the migrant adolescent group, with the girls found twice more exposed than boys (52.6% versus 29.5%, respectively). Postural disorders dominated by scoliosis were found in most (61.0%) of the migrant group, with both males and females being almost equally exposed (61.3% versus 60.6%, respectively). Physical inactivity and scoliosis was tested in 25.0% and 58.3% of the indigenous adolescent group, respectively. This finding agrees with the prior studies by other researchers that tested the Northern indigenous population (Khanty, Mansis, Nenets) with the better postural health than the migrant groups [1].

Furthermore, the physically inactive subgroups were tested with the high anxiety rates (53.0%); and addiction to tobacco (20.4%); with 62% of the tobacco addicts tested with an excessive anxiety rates. In the newcomer migrant adolescent subgroup (with ≤ 5 year residential records), incidence of high anxiety was 8 times lower (9% of the subgroup) than in their North-born peers (74%).

The family status survey found 79% of the sample living in complete families and 21% in single (incomplete) parenthoods, with the anxiety rates in the single-parent families tested 5 times higher than in the complete ones. Our analysis of the correlations between the mental issues of the sample and the parenting styles found the girls’ anxiety rates being directly correlated (r = 0.234) with the mother’s hostility, alienation and suspicion. In addition, the anxiety rates in the girls subgroup were found correlated with the following aspects of the father’s parenting style: dictatorship (r=0.507, р=0.008), and unpredictability/ inconsistency (r=0.207). In the boys subgroup, the anxiety rates were also found correlated with the mother’s dictatorship (r=0.357, р=0.052) and the father’s independence/ despotism (r=0.218).

A special attention was given to the indigenous group’s mental qualities versus the alcohol addiction – for the reason that this group has been reported to face special adaptation challenges in the maturing process due to a variety of group-specific factors. The exposure to pathologies in the indigenous group was found directly correlated with the alcohol addiction rates [11]. It should be mentioned that the adolescent alcoholism has lately been increasingly addressed by many studies albeit the early alcohol addictions of the local indigenous populations are still underexplored. Sampled for the alcohol addiction survey were 58 adolescents (48.3% female and 51.7% male sample). The reported addiction periods were estimated at 3.00±0.50 and 1.79±0.22 years in the male and female subgroups, respectively (р=0.021), with 43.0% of the sample tested with physical inactivity.

The ‘need to remove communication barriers’ was found a dominant motivator for alcoholism in the indigenous group, with 3.9%, 27.% and 78.4% of the group reportedly addicted to strong and light (wine) drinks and beer, respectively. Furthermore, 24.0% of the indigenous group was tested with depression; high anxiety rates (42.0% and 63.0% in the boys and girls subgroups, respectively); high neurosis (25.0% and 60.0%); and high aggression which was more expressed in the boys (32.0% and 27.0% in the boys and girls subgroups, respectively). The alcohol-addicted girls were tested with proneness to opposing behavioral models – in contrast to the prior study data that found domination of the natural gender-specific weaknesses (sensitivity, anxiety, dependence etc.) [4].

In view of the fact that many analysts rank high addictions to psychoactive agents among the autonomic dysfunction risk factors, in addition to physical inactivity, we surveyed 52 adolescents from the indigenous and migrant groups diagnosed with autonomic functionality disorders. The TMAS test found high anxiety rates in 58.6% of the sample diagnosed with the above pathology, albeit the anxiety rates in the boys groups showed no correlation with the autonomic dysfunctions. Exposure to depression in the autonomic dysfunction diagnosed sample was found higher than in the peer healthy group (p<0.001); and the BDI tests found the aggression rates in the sample being higher (p<0.0001) and the hostility rates lower than in the peer healthy group.

Conclusion. The national health system shall give a high priority to studies of the regional adolescent population’s physical and mental health issues in the context of the local environmental, social and hygienic health risks. A special attention shall be given to the Northern adolescent population health with a priority to the single parenthood to develop efficient physical/ mental disorders prevention and correction programs including effective physical activation components to improve the adolescent population health standards on the Siberian North.

The study was supported by a Research Schools Development Grant Project #13-01-20/11 for the young scientists from Yugra State University


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Corresponding author: va-lobova@yandex.ru


The harsh climatic conditions with scarce daylight and wide air temperature variations on the Siberian North are known to be of multiple detrimental effects on the young people’s physical and mental health. The adolescent age group is highly exposed to the risks of chronic noninfectious diseases often provoked by a physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol. Objective of the study was to profile the physical inactivity and addictions to psychoactive agents (tobacco and alcohol) versus the physical and mental health test data for this age group. Subject to the study were the 12-14 year-old (n=770) schoolchildren in 7 state schools of the Siberian North. The study data and analyses showed the addictions to psychoactive agents being of negative effect on the age group health as verified by the growing exposure to autonomic disorders and mental imbalances. It should be emphasized that the local education system is in critical need of new institutional models to secure due integration and succession in the primary health service (general and special) for the junior population of the Siberian North.