Social support and physical activity as moderators of life stress in predicting baseline depression and change in depression over time in the Women’s Health Initiative
- 1.5k Downloads
To determine whether social support and/or physical activity buffer the association between stressors and increasing risk of depression symptoms at baseline and at 3-year follow-up.
This is a secondary analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. 91,912 community-dwelling post-menopausal women participated in this prospective cohort study. Depression symptoms were measured at baseline and 3 years later; social support, physical activity, and stressors were measured at baseline.
Stressors at baseline, including verbal abuse, physical abuse, caregiving, social strain, negative life events, financial stress, low income, acute pain, and a greater number of chronic medical conditions, were all associated with higher levels of depression symptoms at baseline and new onset elevated symptoms at 3-year follow-up. Social support and physical activity were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms. Contrary to expectation, more social support at baseline strengthened the association between concurrent depression and physical abuse, social strain, caregiving, and low income. Similarly, more social support at baseline increased the association between financial stress, income, and pain on new onset depression 3 years later. Physical activity similarly moderated the effect of caregiving, income, and pain on depression symptoms at baseline.
Stressors, social support, and physical activity showed predicted main effect associations with depression. Multiplicative interactions were small in magnitude and in the opposite direction of what was expected.
KeywordsDepression Risk factors Acute stress Chronic stress Protective factors Effect moderation
The WHI program is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services through contracts N01WH22110, 24152, 32100-2, 32105-6, 32108-9, 32111-13, 32115, 32118-32119, 32122, 42107-26, 42129-32, and 44221.
Conflict of interest
C. Eaton has grant funding with Pfizer, Merck, Amylin and Roche Pharmaceuticals. R. Weisberg has grant funding with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. L. Uebelacker, M. Sands, C. Williams, D. Calhoun, J. Manson, N. Denburg, T. Taylor do not have any conflicts of interest.
- 6.Joling KJ, van Hout HP, Schellevis FG, van der Horst HE, Scheltens P, Knol DL, van Marwijk HW (2010) Incidence of depression and anxiety in the spouses of patients with dementia: a naturalistic cohort study of recorded morbidity with a 6-year follow-up. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 18(2):146–153PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 7.Ho SC, Chan A, Woo J, Chong P, Sham A (2009) Impact of caregiving on health and quality of life: a comparative population-based study of caregivers for elderly persons and noncaregivers. J Gerontol 64(8):873–879Google Scholar
- 12.US Bureau of the Census Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States (2006) http://www.census.gov. Accessed 5 Jan 2012
- 14.Cohen S, McKay G (1984) Social support, stress, and the buffering hypothesis: a theoretical analysis. In: Baum A, Taylor S, Singer JE (eds) Handbook of psychology and health. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, pp 253–267Google Scholar
- 37.Antonucci TA, Kahn RC, Akiyama H (1989) Psychosocial factors and the response to cancer symptoms. In: Yanick R, Yaes JW (eds) Cancer in the elderly: approaches to early detection and treatment. Springer Publishing Company, New York, pp 40–52Google Scholar