Objectives: Physical activity shows promise for reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and protection against cognitive decline among individuals with and without AD. Older adults face many barriers to adoption of physically active lifestyles and people with AD face even further challenges. Physical activity is a promising non-pharmacological approach to improve depressive symptoms, but little is known about the impact of depressive symptoms as a potential barrier to engagement in physical activity. The present study aimed to investigate depressive symptoms as a potential barrier for participation in physical activity across a range of dementia severity.
Method: We used longitudinal structural equation modelling to investigate the bi-directional relationship between depressive symptoms and physical activity in 594 older adults with and without AD over a 2 year longitudinal follow up. Participants ranged from no cognitive impairment to moderately severe AD.
Results: We found that depressive symptoms predicted reduced engagement in subsequent physical activity, but physical activity did not predict subsequent reductions in depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: We conclude that depressive symptoms may be an important barrier to engagement in physical activity that may be addressed in clinical practice and intervention research.
The data file is from a longitudinal study of older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease. Each row of data represents one participant and contains data from three waves of data collection. Variables include age, sex, years of education, individual items and total scores from the Geriatric Depression Scale, scores from the Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity Scale, Body Mass Index, CDR category, and status of neuropsychiatric drug use. The file includes all the data that would be necessary to replicate the results reported in the paper by Watts, Mortby, & Burns, Depressive Symptoms as a Barrier to Engagement in Physical Activity in Older Adults with and without Alzheimer’s Disease, Public Library of Science One (forthcoming, 2018). The code book gives descriptions for each variable and explains any coding used. These data are downloadable as a text file (.csv) and the codebook is downloadable (.PDF). Anyone is free to use these data for scholarly purposes, but must include a citation to this user guide in any papers, presentation, or published articles that employ these data. This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIA 5P30AG035982-3) and National Institute on Aging R01AG033673. Moyra Mortby is supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) Dementia Research Development Fellowship #1102028.