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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 257472, 9 pages
Research Article

Exercise for Adolescents with Depressive Disorders: A Feasibility Study

1Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Section, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700, USA
2Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700, USA
3Sleep and Chronophysiology Laboratory, University of Michigan, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700, USA

Received 28 March 2012; Revised 22 May 2012; Accepted 24 May 2012

Academic Editor: Amy Kilbourne

Copyright © 2012 Richard R. Dopp et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. Adolescence is associated with increased depressive symptoms and decreased aerobic exercise, yet the relationship between exercise and clinical depression among adolescents requires further examination. This study assessed the feasibility of a 12-week intervention designed to increase exercise for adolescents with depressive disorders: Will a teenager with depression exercise? Methods. Participants were 13 adolescents with depression reporting low levels of aerobic exercise. They completed a 12-week intervention (15 supervised exercise sessions and 21 independent sessions). Exercise was measured through the aerobic exercise Questionnaire, actigraphy, and heart-rate monitoring. Depression was measured with the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, Revised, and Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Self-Report. Results. All participants who started the intervention completed the protocol, attending all supervised exercise sessions. Actigraphy verified 81% adherence to the protocol’s independent sessions. Analysis of secondary outcomes showed a significant increase in exercise levels and a significant decrease in depression severity. Initially, ten participants were overweight or obese, and three were healthy weight. After 12 weeks of exercise, the number of participants in the healthy-weight category doubled. Conclusions. Adolescents suffering from depression can complete a rigorous protocol requiring structured increases in aerobic exercise. Participants showed significant increases in exercise, and significant decreases in depressive symptoms.