The Effects of Aerobic Exercise Among Adolescents with Mild to Moderate Depression
Kaplan and Sadock (as cited in Brollier, Hamrick & Jacobson, 1994) stated that depression, during the teen years, has become an increasing area of concern in psychiatry (Kaplan & Sadock, 1991. Kashani, Carlson, Beck, Hoeper, Corcoran, McAllister, Fallahi, Rosenberg and Reid (as cited in Brollier, Hamrick ,& Jacobson, 1994) studied the prevalence of depression in adolescents and reported that approximately 8% of adolescents experienced depressive disorders. Kaplan and Sadock (as cited in Brollier et al., 1994) suggested that new forms of treatment are needed when dealing with adolescents because adolescents often do not respond well to medications, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychotherapy, which are used on adults.
Exercise, or physical activity, of an aerobic nature has been widely used as part of the recommended medical treatment for many health problems, and the physiological health benefits associated with exercise have been well documented. Brown, Ramierez,, and Taub (as cited in Mihevic, 1982) have stated that within recent years, exercise has been increasingly used for the treatment of depression as well. The results of a study conducted by Maroulakis and Zerva (1993) have shown that all dimensions of mood were positively affected by exercise to a significant extent. They went further to say that exercise is the most important natural mood modulator. Many studies have been conducted which examine the effects of aerobic exercise on depression scores of normal adult patients, and adult patients with depression. One such study, conducted by McCann and Holmes (1984), concluded that participation in a program of strenuous aerobic exercise was effective in reducing depression in adults.
There seems to be a considerable gap in the area with regard to the effects of exercise on depressive symptoms in healthy adolescents, as well as the effects of exercise on adolescents with mild to moderate depression. Only a handful of studies have been completed to observe this area of study. Norris, Carroll and Cochrane (1992) found that students at a secondary school who stated they exercised regularly, produced lower scores on the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List, developed by Zukerman and Lubin. Brown, Welsh, Labbe, Vitulli and Kulkarni (1992) found that aerobic exercise was beneficial for 54 depressed patients, of both sexes, with the average age being 15.6 years of age. However, this study found that the female participants reported a greater amount of change in depression, anger, exhaustion, anxiety and confusion, following the nine week study. Although the male subjects did see improvements in their psychological states, the female participants were slightly better off. Another study conducted by Brollier et al. (1994) found that of the four adolescent, male participants they were able to work with in their study, all were able to gain some...