The association between physical activity and depressive symptoms in young women: A review
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Azar, D and Ball, K and Salmon, J and Cleland, V, The association between physical activity and depressive symptoms in young women: A review, Mental Health and Physical Activity , 1, (2) pp. 82-88. ISSN 1755-2966 (2008) [Refereed Article]
Objective: This review synthesises results of studies examining the association between physical activity (PA) and depressive symptoms and the effects of PA intervention studies on depression among young women. Methods: A search of electronic databases and bibliographic searches of observational and intervention studies was conducted that included women between the ages of 18 and 35. Results: A total of eight observational and five intervention studies were identified. Evidence from observational studies indicated that physical activity was inversely associated with depressive symptoms in young women. Even a small amount of physical activity was found to be associated with reduced depressive symptoms. No clear dose-response relationship was shown. Evidence from intervention studies indicated that physical activity reduced depressive symptoms. Direct study comparisons were difficult due to variations in study methods and measures. The studies provided little or no information on understanding dose-response effects or on the mechanisms involved. Conclusion: The limited number of studies examining physical activity and depressive symptoms in young women and the methodological problems identified in a number of these studies, make it difficult to draw firm conclusions. However, this review suggests that engaging in even low levels of physical activity may be protective against depressive symptoms in young women. There is a need for objective measures of physical activity in future studies, particularly with a focus on those with clinical depression in non-student populations. Crown Copyright © 2008.
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