Modality of Exercise Influences Rate of Decrease in Depression for Cancer Survivors with Elevated Depressive Symptomatology
School of Medical and Health Sciences
This three-arm feasibility controlled trial examined whether different exercise modalities provide reductions in depression symptoms to cancer survivors with elevated depression.
Thirty-two participants (58.9 ± 9.4 years) were allocated to a 12-week supervised exercise group (EX; n = 10), a self-managed home-based exercise group (SMHB; n = 8), or a usual care control group (CONT; n = 14). EX performed two supervised resistance and aerobic sessions per week. SMHB were provided with printed material about benefits of exercise and encouraged to complete 150 min of exercise weekly. CONT received no exercise or printed material and were encouraged to maintain usual activity.
A group × time interaction was found for the primary outcome of depression scores, measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D; p = .008). SMHB (6.4 ± 5.3 to 2.2 ± 2.9, p = .006) and EX (6.9 ± 4.2 to 4.0 ± 2.4, p = .021) interventions both effectively reduced HADS-D scores compared to CONT (7.2 ± 2.5 to 7.7 ± 3.6). SMHB decreased depression to a greater extent, and this occurred more rapidly with greatest changes noted at 6 weeks (d = 0.50). Further favourable outcomes for exercise were also noted for several secondary outcome measures.
The rate of exercise-related reduction in depression is influenced by the modality of exercise. However, increasing the duration of the programme appears to diminish the favourable short-term response to self-managed exercise with subsequent secondary outcomes of mental health favouring supervised exercise.