Aerobic exercise for adolescent outpatients with persistent major depression: Feasibility and acceptability of moderate to vigorous group exercise in a clinically referred sample

Håkan Jarbin*, Kristina Höglund, Guðmundur Ágúst Skarphéðinsson, Ann Bremander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: To assess feasibility and acceptability of exercise in clinically referred adolescents with major depression. Methods: Outpatients12 to 17 years with mild to moderate persistent depression participated in a supervised, pulse monitored, 14-week aerobic exercise but without control group. Primary outcome was adherence and secondary was clinician-rated Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology – Adolescent (QIDS-A17-C), aerobic capacity, functioning, and well-being. Results: Twenty-one (66%) of 32 eligible adolescents with major depression with disease duration 2.4 (1.1–5.3) years and comorbid ADHD (71%) and anxiety disorders (62%) consented. Estimated maximum heart rate above 70% was achieved for mean 31.6 minutes, indicating that the intensity and duration of the exercise intervention was well received. Fourteen patients (67%) participated throughout the program and attended a median of 29 (81%, range 20–35) supporting satisfaction with the intervention by most patients. QIDS-A17-C score decreased compared to baseline at 15 weeks (p <.001) and further at 1 year (p <.001). Aerobic capacity improved during the intervention but was not maintained, while functioning improved and after 1 year also well-being. Conclusion: This 14 week moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise intervention was feasible and well accepted by most adolescents with persistent depression and extensive comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-967
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the adolescents and their supportive families, the personal trainer, and clinical coordinators, who made this study possible. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Other keywords

  • Adolescent
  • depression
  • exercise intervention
  • persistent depression and comorbidity

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