Medical patients and their carers suffer from depression if their activity is restricted

iStock_000000737181XSmall asian man in hospital

Depression has a habit of attaching itself to lots of health problems, not just for the patient, but also sometimes for carers and other family members.

This systematic review and meta-analysis looks at the association between activity restriction and depression in medical patients and their caregivers.

The review found a clear positive relationship between lack of activity and depression, which unsurprisingly was most significant for depressed patients:

  • depression in medical patients (r=0.45; 95% CI, 0.42-0.48)
  • depression in caregivers (r=0.34; 95% CI, 0.28-0.41)
  • depression in community-dwelling adults (r=0.28; 95% CI, 0.25-0.31)

Note: Effect sizes were calculated as Pearson r correlations using random-effects models (See the Wikipedia entry for an explanation of the stats).

The reviewers from the University of California conclude that:

Assessment and treatment of activity restriction may be particularly helpful in preventing depression.

Mausbach BT, Chattillion EA, Moore RC, Roepke SK, Depp CA, Roesch S. Activity restriction and depression in medical patients and their caregivers: A meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Apr 28;31(6):900-908. [PubMed abstract]

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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