The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

“A forward movement into life”: A qualitative study of how, why and when physical activity may benefit depression

Record type: Article

Physical activity can help manage depression, but little is known about how, why and when it ‘works’. Few studies have used qualitative methods to explore the change process, which could identify new hypothesised mechanisms and moderators. This qualitative, grounded theory study aimed to elucidate the change process by exploring physical activity experiences among individuals with self-reported and diagnosed depression or low mood who felt it had or had not helped their mood. Twenty-six individuals recruited from one general practice and elsewhere were interviewed about their physical activity experiences. The participants felt physical activity helped their depression through providing a sense of engagement in life and the present, but, as the participants with negative or mixed positive and negative physical activity experiences particularly highlighted, the activity needs to be pleasant and enjoyable to be beneficial. For some, these positive physical activity experiences led them to knowing being active would make them feel good, making it self-reinforcing. This represented a shift from extrinsic to intrinsic motivations, which helped them overcome barriers to being active, and some began to use physical activity to self-manage symptoms. We conclude that physical activity may help depression through people feeling more pleasantly engaged in life and that pleasant activities are important in treating depression. Practitioners could encourage individuals to take part in enjoyable physical activities to enhance the depression response and to increase adherence through the development of intrinsic motivations. New hypothesised mediators include enjoyment (also a moderator), reduced anhedonia, and increased flow and mindfulness.

Other Accepted manuscript - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 23 March 2018.
Download (73kB)

Citation

Pickett, Karen, Kendrick, Anthony and Yardley, Lucy (2017) “A forward movement into life”: A qualitative study of how, why and when physical activity may benefit depression Mental Health and Physical Activity, 12, pp. 100-109. (doi:10.1016/j.mhpa.2017.03.004).

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 20 March 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 March 2017
Published date: March 2017
Keywords: physical activity, Depression, Exercise, mediators, mechanisms, Moderators, Mood, mood disorder, Qualitative study, grounded theory
Organisations: Human Wellbeing, Primary Care & Population Sciences, SHTAC

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407582
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407582
ISSN: 1755-2966
PURE UUID: b7f08ffc-9939-418e-8909-5e2d8a0b2b1f
ORCID for Anthony Kendrick: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1618-9381

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Apr 2017 16:57
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 13:49

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×