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The relationship between depression and occupational, household, and leisure-time physical activity

Linda Lin, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between depression and three categories of physical activity: leisure, occupational, and household activity. Although several researchers have found that physical activity in the form of exercise alleviates symptoms of depression, few have examined the extent to which occupational or household activity alleviates depressive symptoms. This study proposed occupational, household, and total activity would predict lower depression scores in a relationship similar to that reported for exercise. Data for this study were derived from the database of a larger study of seasonal variation of blood cholesterol conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. Five-hundred-twenty-eight participants (285 men, 243 women) between the ages of 20 and 70 years were included in the study. Data on leisure, occupational, and household activity had been collected over the course of one year using 24-hour phone recalls, as well as data on depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck & Steer, 1987). Leisure activity was predictive of lower depression scores in women, but not men. High intensity leisure activity was more predictive of depression scores than low intensity leisure activity. Occupational, household, and total activity were not found to be predictive of depression scores in either direction.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Mental health|Sports medicine

Recommended Citation

Lin, Linda, "The relationship between depression and occupational, household, and leisure-time physical activity" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110522.