Meta-analysis of movement-based interventions to aid academic and behavioral outcomes: A taxonomy of relevance and integration

Myrto F. Mavilidi*, Caterina Pesce, Valentin Benzing, Mirko Schmidt, Fred Paas, Anthony D. Okely, Spyridoula Vazou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

5 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the effects of movement strategies during academic time, on children's and adolescents' cognitive processing, memory, behavioral control, and academic skills. We used a 2 × 2 design to categorize studies, based on their level of integration with (low vs. high) and relevance to the learning content (low vs high). Meta-analyses were conducted per overarching outcome constructs. Age was explored as a potential moderator. A total of 83 studies involving 25,641 participants were included. The high integration-high relevance movement strategy applied in longer-term (i.e., chronic) physical activity interventions had positive effects with the largest effect (ES = 0.94) on memory. The low integration-low relevance movement strategy had large effects on behavioral control measures for longer-term physical activity (ES = 1.42) and single (i.e., acute) bouts of physical activity; ES = 1.15). A nuanced pattern of results emerged in the other categories (high-low and low-high). A theory-based mapping of studies was used to disentangle the effects of different types of movement strategies during academic time on selective outcomes. Consistencies were identified and explained referring to theories grounded in educational psychology and exercise and cognition research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100478
JournalEducational Research Review
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All authors declared no conflict of interests. MFM was supported by the UOW Vice Chancellor's Research Fellowship Award.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


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