Psychosocial Correlates of Exercise in Women With Self-Reported Depressive Symptoms

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Exercise effectively reduces symptoms of depression. However, correlates of regular exercise in depressed women are unknown. This study assessed psychosocial determinants of exercise in a sample of women with depressive symptoms.


Sixty-one women completed demographic, depression, and exercise-related questionnaires.


The average Primary Health Ques-tionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depression score was 12.1 (SD = 5.0), indicating moderate depressive symptoms. In the previous week, the women reported 12.8 metabolic equivalents (METs) of exercise. Low levels of self-efficacy and social support for exercise were also reported. Depressive symptoms were positively associated with barriers to exercise (r = .35, P < .01), and barriers were inversely related to exercise METs (r = –.37, P < .05). Barriers to activity and education level were significant determinants of exercise.


Women with depressive symptoms report minimal exercise involvement, numerous barriers to exercise, and low exercise self-efficacy and social support for exercise.

Craft is with the Dept of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611. Perna and Freund are with the Section of General Internal Medicine and Women’s Health, Interdisciplinary Research Center, and Culpepper the Dept of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118.