Depressive symptoms are common in older adults, but antidepressant medications may be contraindicated or poorly tolerated in this population. Intervention studies demonstrate that exercise may be an effective alternative. This meta-analysis included 41 randomized controlled trials of aerobic and nonaerobic exercise interventions investigating the effect of exercise on depressive symptoms in adults aged 60 or older. A random effects model demonstrated that exercise was associated with significantly lower depression severity (SMD = 0.57, 95% CI 0.36–0.78). This effect was not significantly different for different ages of participants, types of control groups, or types of exercise interventions. Studies requiring a diagnosis of depression had significantly greater mean effect sizes than studies that did not require a depression diagnosis (Qbet = 6.843, df = 1, p = .009). These findings suggest that exercise is an effective treatment option for older individuals with depressive symptoms.
Kathleen T. Rhyner and Amber Watts
Clare Hume, Anna Timperio, Jenny Veitch, Jo Salmon, David Crawford and Kylie Ball
This study examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and depressive symptoms among adolescents.
Participants were 155 adolescents (14.4 years ± 0.61) in 2004 (40% boys). Data collection occurred in 2004 and again in 2006. At both time points, participants completed the Centers for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC), from which they were classified as having depressive symptoms (≥15) or not (<15). Organized sport and TV viewing were self-reported and moderate-to-vigorous (MVPA) and vigorous (VPA) physical activity and sedentary time were objectively measured. Logistic and linear regression analyses examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between MVPA, VPA, organized sport, TV viewing, sedentary time, and symptoms of depression.
There were no cross-sectional or longitudinal associations between MVPA, VPA, organized sport, sedentary time, and symptoms of depression among boys or girls. However, having symptoms of depression in 2004 did predict higher TV viewing among adolescent girls in 2006 (approximately 168 minutes/week more TV viewing; P ≤ .001).
MVPA, VPA, organized sport and objectively-measured sedentary time appeared unrelated to depressive symptoms in this sample, but depressive symptoms predicted increased TV viewing over time among adolescent girls. Further research is required to determine the clinical relevance of this finding.
Ka-Chun Siu, Shireen S. Rajaram and Carolina Padilla
Increasing evidence underscores the health benefits of Tai Chi (TC), although there is limited evidence of benefits among racial and ethnic minorities. This study investigated the impact of psychosocial status on balance among 23 Latino seniors after a twice-a-week, 12-week TC exercise program. Functional status was measured at baseline, immediately after, and three months following the TC exercise program, using the Timed Up and Go Test and Tinetti Falls Efficacy Scale. Psychosocial status was measured at baseline by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire. Both measures of functional status improved and were sustained after three months of TC. Greater improvement was significantly related to a higher level of baseline social support. More depressed seniors reported less fear of falling after TC. Depression and social support are important moderators of functional improvement after TC among Latino seniors.
Lois Michaud Tomson, Robert P. Pangrazi, Glenn Friedman and Ned Hutchison
While research has confirmed a negative relationship between adult depression and physical activity, there is little evidence for children. This study examined the relationship of being classified as physically active or inactive by a parent or a teacher to depressive symptoms in children 8 to 12 years of age (N = 933). It also assessed the relationship of playing sports outside of school, and of meeting health related fitness standards, to symptoms of depression. Relative risk of depressive symptoms for inactive classification was 2.8 to 3.4 times higher than it was for active, 1.3 to 2.4 times higher for children not playing sports outside of school, and 1.5 to 4.0 times higher for those not meeting health related fitness goals.
Robert Chen and Kaviraja Udupa
Several techniques that involve transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to measure brain plasticity noninvasively in humans. These include paired-associative stimulation (PAS), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and theta burst stimulation (TBS). Some of these techniques are based the principle of use dependent plasticity or are designed to mimic protocols used to induce long-term potentiation or depression in animal studies. These studies have been applied to certain neurological and psychiatric disorders to investigate their pathophysiology. For example, PAS induced plasticity is enhanced in dystonia and stroke but is reduced in Huntington’s disease and schizophrenia. Furthermore, TMS may be used to modulate brain plasticity and has therapeutic potential in neurological and psychiatric disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and depression.
Kathleen A. Moore, Michael A. Babyak, Carrie E. Wood, Melissa A. Napolitano, Parinda Khatri, W. Edward Craighead, Steve Herman, Ranga Krishnan and James A. Blumenthal
Previous studies of younger, healthy individuals have demonstrated an inverse relationship between physical activity and depression. The present study addressed the relation between self-reported physical activity and symptoms of depression in 146 men and women aged 50 years and older with major depressive disorder (MDD). Patients who met clinical criteria for MDD completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Minnesota Leisure-Time Activity Questionnaire (MQ). Multiple regression analysis indicated that lower levels of physical activity were associated with more severe depressive symptoms (p = .04), after adjusting for age and gender. The implications of these findings for the treatment and prevention of depression are discussed.
Lindsey C. McGuire, Yvette M. Ingram, Michael L. Sachs and Ryan T. Tierney
Depression rates in collegiate student-athletes in the literature are varied and inconclusive, and data have only explored depression symptoms utilizing a crosssectional design. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the temporal course of depression symptoms in student-athletes. Student-athletes (N = 93) from a Division II institution completed six administrations of a brief depression symptom screen once every 2 weeks throughout the fall athletic season. Ten (10.8%) student-athletes’ PHQ-9 surveys were red-flagged for moderate to severe depression symptoms at least once throughout the season. A mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed a significant interaction effect for time and sex in depression symptom scores, F(3.69, 335.70) = 10.36, p ≤ .001. The repeated-measures design of this study suggests that there are clinical benefits for screening for depression symptoms in student-athletes at multiple intervals throughout an athletic season.
Roberto Rojas, Wolfgang Schlicht and Martin Hautzinger
The present study was designed to examine the effects of a 16-week exercise intervention on several aspects of psychological and physical well-being in a sample of HIV-1 positive individuals. An exercise group (n = 19) was compared with a control group (n = 14) prior to and following the intervention on several outcome variables, including health related quality of life, psychological well-being (depression, anxiety, global symptoms), immune parameters, and cardiopulmonary parameters. The exercise group experienced a significant improvement in cardiopulmonary fitness, and health related quality of life improved significantly in that group relative to the control group. Psychological well-being improved similarly in both groups, however, while immune indices did not change in either group. Consistent with earlier studies, it is suggested that a moderate exercise intervention enhanced the health related quality of life in HIV-1 positive individuals.
Carolyn J. Murrock and Christine Heifner Graor
This study documented the feasibility and immediate effects of a dance intervention two times per week for 12 weeks on depression, physical function, and disability in older, underserved adults. The one-group, pretest–posttest study had a convenience sample of 40 participants recruited from a federally subsidized apartment complex located in an economically depressed, inner-city neighborhood. Depression, physical function, and disability were measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Average age was 63 years (SD = 7.9), 92% were female, and 75% were African American. At baseline, participants reported increased depression (M = 20.0, SD = 12.4), decreased physical function (M = 56.6, SD = 10.9), and increased disability limitations (M = 65.7, SD = 14.9). At posttest, paired t tests showed that the dance intervention significantly decreased depression, t = 6.11, p < .001, and disability, t = −2.70, p = .014, and significantly increased physical function, t = -2.74, p = .013. The results indicate that the 12-week dance intervention may be an effective adjunct therapy to improve depression, disability, and physical function in underserved adults.
Denise Azar, Kylie Ball, Jo Salmon and Verity Cleland
A number of factors have been identified as important correlates of physical activity (PA) among young women. Young women at risk of depression have a greater likelihood of being physically inactive and it is unknown whether correlates differ for women at risk and not at risk of depression.
A sample of 451 women aged 18 to 35 years self-reported leisure-time PA, enjoyment of and self-efficacy for walking and vigorous PA, barriers, social support, access to sporting/leisure facilities, and access to sporting equipment in the home. Depression risk was assessed using the General Health Questionnaire (cut point ≥5). Logistic regression analyses examined differences in PA correlates among women at risk and not at risk of depression.
Self-efficacy for vigorous PA was statistically different between groups in predicting odds for meeting PA recommendations but odds ratios were similar across groups. No other significant interactions between correlates and depressive symptoms were identified.
The findings suggest few differences in the individual, social, and physical environmental correlates of PA among young women who are and are not at risk of depression. Further research is needed to confirm the existence of any PA correlates specific to this high-risk target group.