European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 537–546

Bidirectional association between physical activity and symptoms of anxiety and depression: the Whitehall II study

  • Marine Azevedo Da Silva
  • Archana Singh-Manoux
  • Eric J. Brunner
  • Sara Kaffashian
  • Martin J. Shipley
  • Mika Kivimäki
  • Hermann Nabi
PSYCHIATRIC EPIDEMIOLOGY

DOI: 10.1007/s10654-012-9692-8

Cite this article as:
Azevedo Da Silva, M., Singh-Manoux, A., Brunner, E.J. et al. Eur J Epidemiol (2012) 27: 537. doi:10.1007/s10654-012-9692-8

Abstract

Although it has been hypothesized that the association of physical activity with depressive and anxiety symptoms is bidirectional, few studies have examined this issue in a prospective setting. We studied this bidirectional association using data on physical activity and symptoms of anxiety and depression at three points in time over 8 years. A total of 9,309 participants of the British Whitehall II prospective cohort study provided data on physical activity, anxiety and depression symptoms and 10 covariates at baseline in 1985. We analysed the associations of physical activity with anxiety and/or depression symptoms using multinomial logistic regression (with anxiety and depression symptoms as dependent variables) and binary logistic regression (with physical activity as the dependent variable). There was a cross-sectional inverse association between physical activity and anxiety and/or depressive symptoms at baseline (ORs between 0.63 and 0.72). In cumulative analyses, regular physical activity across all three data waves, but not irregular physical activity, was associated with reduced likelihood of depressive symptoms at follow-up (OR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.54, 0.99). In a converse analysis, participants with anxiety and depression symptoms at baseline had higher odds of not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity at follow-up (OR = 1.79, 95 % CI 1.17, 2.74). This was also the case in individuals with anxiety and/or depression symptoms at both baseline and follow-up (OR = 1.70, 95 % CI 1.10, 2.63). The association between physical activity and symptoms of anxiety and/or depression appears to be bidirectional.

Keywords

Common mental disorders Physical activity Bidirectional association Longitudinal studies 

Abbreviations

BMI

Body mass index

CI

Confidence interval

GHQ

General Health Questionnaire

OR

Odds Ratios

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marine Azevedo Da Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Archana Singh-Manoux
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Eric J. Brunner
    • 4
  • Sara Kaffashian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin J. Shipley
    • 4
  • Mika Kivimäki
    • 4
    • 5
  • Hermann Nabi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Epidemiology of Occupational and Social Determinants of HealthINSERM, U1018VillejuifFrance
  2. 2.Université de Versailles St. Quentin, UMRS 1018VillejuifFrance
  3. 3.Centre de Gérontologie, Hôpital Ste Périne, AP-HPParisFrance
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.INSERM, U1018, Hôpital Paul BrousseVillejuif CedexFrance