Exercise Interventions for Mental Health: A Quantitative and Qualitative Review

Clinical Psychology Science and Practice (Impact Factor: 2.92). 05/2006; 13(2):179 - 193. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2850.2006.00021.x

ABSTRACT Associations between exercise and mental well-being have been documented repeatedly over the last two decades. More recently, there has been application of exercise interventions to clinical populations diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders with evidence of substantial benefit. Nonetheless, attention to the efficacy of exercise interventions in clinical settings has been notably absent in the psychosocial treatment literature, as have been calls for the integration of these methods within the clinical practice of psychologists. In this article, we provide a quantitative and qualitative review of these efficacy studies in clinical samples and discuss the potential mechanism of action of exercise interventions, with attention to both biological and psychosocial processes. The meta-analysis of 11 treatment outcome studies of individuals with depression yielded a very large combined effect size for the advantage of exercise over control conditions: g = 1.39 (95% CI: .89–1.88), corresponding to a d = 1.42 (95% CI: .92–1.93). Based on these findings, we encourage clinicians to consider the role of adjunctive exercise interventions in their clinical practice and we discuss issues concerning this integration.

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    ABSTRACT: Embodied cognition is a research program comprising an array of methods from diverse theoretical fields (e.g., philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, etc.) held together by the key assumption that the body functions as a constituent of the mind rather than a passive perceiver and actor serving the mind. With a longstanding tradition in continental and pragmatic philosophy and a recent explosion in theoretical and empirical research in psychology and cognitive science, the embodied cognition research program is now ready to be formally translated into an applied approach for clinical, sport, education, social, media and health settings. This brief review sets the scene for this special edition by outlining philosophies and theory underpinning the embodied cognition research program and briefly reviewing accounts of embodied cognition that form themes running through the articles included in this special edition. Finally, we provide some examples of existing interventions, therapies and practices that utilise body– mind principles common to embodied cognition, though under other descriptive methodological titles. We suggest that embracing and integrating these interventions, therapies and practices under " applied embodied cognition " will encourage interdisciplinary discussion, thereby helping to move the field forward.
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    ABSTRACT: The placebo effect could account for some or all of the psychological benefits attributed to exercise training. The magnitude of the placebo effect in psychological outcomes of randomized controlled exercise training trials has not been quantified. The aim of this investigation was to estimate the magnitude of the population placebo effect in psychological outcomes from placebo conditions used in exercise training studies and compare it to the observed effect of exercise training. Articles published before 1 July 2013 were located using Google Scholar, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and The Cochrane Library. To be included in the analysis, studies were required to have (1) a design that randomly assigned participants to exercise training, placebo, and control conditions and (2) an assessment of a subjective (i.e., anxiety, depression, energy, fatigue) or an objective (i.e., cognitive) psychological outcome. Meta-analytic and multi-level modeling techniques were used to analyze effects from nine studies involving 661 participants. Hedges' d effect sizes were calculated, and random effects models were used to estimate the overall magnitude of the placebo and exercise training effects. After adjusting for nesting effects, the placebo mean effect size was 0.20 (95 % confidence interval [CI] -0.02, 0.41) and the observed effect of exercise training was 0.37 (95 % CI 0.11, 0.63). A small body of research suggests both that (1) the placebo effect is approximately half of the observed psychological benefits of exercise training and (2) there is an urgent need for creative research specifically aimed at better understanding the role of the placebo effect in the mental health consequences of exercise training.
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    12/2013, Degree: MSc in Physiotherapy, Supervisor: Helen Fiddler


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May 22, 2014