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The effectiveness of a pram walking exercise program in reducing depressive symptomatology for postnatal women

Armstrong, Kylie & Edwards, Helen E. (2004) The effectiveness of a pram walking exercise program in reducing depressive symptomatology for postnatal women. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 10(4), pp. 177-194.

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Abstract

The purpose of the research project was to examine the effects of exercise, social support and depression on postnatal women who reported experiencing Postnatal Depression (PND). A 12 week randomised controlled trial was conducted investigating the effects of an exercise intervention group (3 sessions/wk of 60%-75% intensity) compared to a social support group (1 session/wk). Participants in both groups had given birth in the past 12 months and were experiencing depressive symptomatology. Pre-test data of physical fitness and structured questionnaires were compared to post-test effects. The exercise intervention consisted of a pram walking program for mothers and their babies and the social support intervention involved non-structured sessions, similar to a play group.

The primary outcomes were to reduce the depressive syptomatology and improve fitness levels of participants in the pram walking group. Secondary outcomes were to improve the social support levels of the participants in both groups and explore women's views about the programs. It was hypothesised that the pram walking group would improve their feelings of depression and fitness levels compared to the social support group, but that both groups would improve their perceived levels of social support.

The results showed that mothers in the pram walking intervention group improved their fitness levels (VO2 max = p < 0.01) and reduced their level of depressive symptomatology (EPDS = p < 0.01) significantly more than the social support group. There were no significant changes to social support levels for both groups (p > 0.05). These results are encouraging and suggest that a pram walking intervention has the potential to improve depressive symptomatology and fitness levels for women who reported experiencing postnatal depression. Therefore, a direct association between improvement in fitness was related to improvement in depression for the pram walking group. However, it is also suggested that other factors in combination with improvements in fitness influenced improvements in depressive levels. Tailored pram walking programs have the potential to provide primary and secondary treatment options for postnatal women. It is a recommendation that pram walking programs for mothers with PND be implemented as pilot research into existing available services. These conclusions and recommendations are tentative and could be confirmed with larger studies with larger cohorts.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 354
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Postnatal Depression, Exercise, Social Support, Motherhood, Intervention Programs, Pram Walking Intervention, Postnatal Well, Being
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2004.00478.x
ISSN: 1440-172X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Deposited On: 12 Aug 2004
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:07

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