The Effects of Exercise on Depression in Adolescents

Adam H. Hansell, The College of Wooster


Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a major area of concern, affecting a substantial portion of individuals of all ages. The current frontline treatments for Major Depressive Disorder are antidepressant medications and interpersonal therapy, but there is increasing interest in alternative therapies. The present study investigated the effects of a 12-week exercise protocol on an adolescent population with clinical diagnoses of depression. Eighteen participants were placed in either a Treatment as usual condition, which served as the control group, or an exercise condition. Depression was measured at both pre-and post-intervention. Social functioning, suicidal ideation, psychopathology, and exercise self-efficacy were also measured throughout the course of the intervention. Participants in the exercise condition experienced a significant reduction in depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation following the 12-week intervention. The results of the present study suggest that exercise is effective as a supplement to existing interventions for depression. Future research should investigate the effects of exercise as a primary intervention for depression.


© Copyright 2014 Adam H. Hansell