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Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults: Long-Term Reduction After a Physical Activity Intervention

  • Robert W. Motl
  • James F. Konopack
  • Edward McAuleyEmail author
  • Steriani Elavsky
  • Gerald J. Jerome
  • David X. Marquez
Article

We examined the effects of two physical activity modes on depressive symptoms over a 5-year period among older adults and change in physical self-esteem as a mediator of changes in depressive symptoms. Formerly sedentary, older adults (N = 174) were randomly assigned into 6-month conditions of either walking or low-intensity resistance/flexibility training. Depressive symptoms and physical self-esteem were measured before and after the 6-month intervention, and 12 and 60 months after intervention initiation. Depressive symptoms scores were decreased immediately after the intervention, followed by a sustained reduction for 12 and 60 months after intervention initiation; there was no differential pattern of change between the physical activity modes. Change in physical self-esteem predicted change in depressive symptoms. This study supports the effectiveness of an exercise intervention for the sustained reduction of depressive symptoms among sedentary older adults and physical self-esteem as a potential mediator of this effect.

KEY WORDS:

older adults depressive symptoms exercise physical self-esteem 

Notes

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute on Aging (Grant 2RO1 AG 12113).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Motl
    • 1
  • James F. Konopack
    • 1
  • Edward McAuley
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Steriani Elavsky
    • 1
  • Gerald J. Jerome
    • 2
  • David X. Marquez
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins University College of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  4. 4.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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