Physical activity correlates in young women with depressive symptoms: a qualitative study
Azar, D and Ball, K and Salmon, J and Cleland, V, Physical activity correlates in young women with depressive symptoms: a qualitative study, The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7, (3) pp. 2-11. ISSN 1479-5868 (2010) [Refereed Article]
Background: Young women are at high risk for developing depression and participation in physical activity may
prevent or treat the disorder. However, the influences on physical activity behaviors of young women with
depression are not well understood. The aim of this study was to gather in-depth information about the correlates
of physical activity among young women with and without depressive symptoms.
Methods: A sample of 40 young women (aged 18-30 years), 20 with depressive symptoms (assessed using the
CES-D 10) and 20 without depressive symptoms participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. A socialecological
framework was used, focusing on the individual, social and physical environmental influences on
physical activity. Thematic analyses were performed on transcribed interview data.
Results: The results indicated several key themes that were unique to women with depressive symptoms. These
women more often described negative physical activity experiences during their youth, more barriers to physical
activity, participating in more spontaneous than planned activity, lower self-efficacy for physical activity and being
influenced by their friends’ and family’s inactivity.
Conclusions: Interventions designed to promote physical activity in this important target group should consider
strategies to reduce/overcome early life negative experiences, engage support from family and friends and plan for
activity in advance.