Impact Factor 2.129 | CiteScore 2.40
More on impact ›

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02145

Exercise, Mood, Self-Efficacy, and Social Support as Predictors of Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults: Direct and Interaction Effects

  • 1School of Health and Life Sciences, Federation University Australia, Australia
  • 2Ballarat Health Services, Australia
  • 3School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Australia

Background: Depression is a chronic condition that affects up to 15% of older adults. The healthogenic effects of regular exercise are well established, but it is still unclear which exercise-related variables characterise the antidepressant effects of exercise. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which exercise-related variables (exercise behaviour, exercise-induced mood, exercise self-efficacy, and social support) can predict depressive symptoms in a cohort of community-dwelling older adults.
Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional analysis of questionnaire data from a sample of 586 community-dwelling older Australians aged 65 to 96 years old. Participants completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, modified CHAMPS Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Adults, Four-Dimension Mood Scale, Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale, and Social Provisions Scale - Short Form. Bivariate correlations were performed, and hierarchical multiple regression was subsequently used to test the regression model.
Results: Exercise behaviour, exercise-induced mood, exercise self-efficacy, and social support were all negatively associated with depressive symptoms (r = -.20 to -.56). When the variables were entered as predictors into the hierarchical multiple regression model, social support was the strongest predictor of depressive symptoms (β = -.42), followed by exercise-induced mood (β = -.23), and exercise self-efficacy (β = -.07). Exercise behaviour did not explain any additional variance in depressive symptoms. A modest interaction effect was also observed between exercise-induced mood and social support.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that social support is the strongest predictor of depressive symptomology in community-dwelling older adults, particularly when combined with positive exercise-induced mood states. When addressing the needs of older adults at risk of depression, healthcare professionals should consider the implementation of exercise programs that are likely to benefit older adults by improving mood, enhancing self-efficacy, and building social support.

Keywords: Elderly, seniors, physical activity, Depression, hierarchical regression, Moderation, Interaction, Exercise, mood, Self-effcacy, social support, depressive symptoms, older adults

Received: 14 Jun 2019; Accepted: 05 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Miller, Mesagno, McLaren, Grace, Yates and Gomez. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Kyle J. Miller, School of Health and Life Sciences, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia,