Physical Fitness Exercise vs. Cognitive Behavior Therapy on Reducing the Depressive Symptoms Among Community-Dwelling Elderly Adults

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tzu-Ting Huang, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan
Yen-Fan Chin, PhD
School of Nursing, Chang-Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

Aim. To compare the effectiveness of three interventions (physical fitness exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, and comparison) on primary outcomes (depressive symptoms), and secondary outcomes (physical fitness, quality of life, cognitive function, and social support) of community-dwelling elderly adults with depressive symptoms.

Background. Depressive inclination is a major problem among community-dwelling elderly adults. The prevalence of depressive symptoms ranges from 10.4% to 39.3%. This indicates the importance of developing effective strategies to reduce depressive symptoms among elderly adults.

Methods. Data was collected from May 2011 to April 2012. A randomized

controlled trial with three groups (N=57) was conducted in a suburban area of northern Taiwan. Participants were assessed at baseline for demographic data, plus depressive symptoms, physical fitness, cognitive function, quality of life, and social support were also collected at once, 3, and 6 months after interventions.

Results. The baseline data of depressive symptoms in the three groups were higher than other post-tests ( time effect, F= 49.92, p= .000); at posttest 1, participants in the both experimental groups were significantly less depression than those in the comparison group ( p= .012). Participants in PFE Group were improved their physical fitness than those in the other groups. The baseline data of QOL in the three groups were lower than other post-tests (time effect, F= 9.288, p< .001); at posttest 1, participants in the exercise group were significantly higher QOL than those in the other two groups ( p= .005). The baseline data of cognitive function among these three groups were lower than other post-tests (time effect, F= 8.334, p= .000). And, participants in the three groups differed significantly in social support (interaction effect, F =4.73, p < .01) that indicate the increased perceived social support of elderly adults in the two experiment groups was significantly higher at posttests (p=.000, .011 & .007, respectively) than those in the control group.

Conclusion. Participants in both experimental groups were significant in improving the depressive symptoms and perceived social support. In addition, physical fitness exercise can improve their physical fitness, and quality of life, as well. However, if considering for improving physical fitness and quality of life among elderly adults with depressive symptoms, exercise may be a better way to be chosen.