Physical activity, sitting and depression during pregnancy

Watts, Jacqueline Nicole (2010) Physical activity, sitting and depression during pregnancy. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Aims The aim of this cross sectional study is to explore levels of physical activity and sitting behaviour amongst a sample of pregnant Australian women (n = 81), and investigate whether reported levels of physical activity and/or time spent sitting were associated with depressive symptom scores after controlling for potential covariates. Methods Study participants were women who attended the antenatal clinic of a large Brisbane maternity hospital between October and November 2006. Data relating to participants. current levels of physical activity, sitting behaviour, depressive symptoms, demographic characteristics and exposure to known risk factors for depression during pregnancy were collected; via on-site survey, follow-up telephone interview (approximately one week later) and post delivery access to participant hospital records. Results Participants were aged 29.5 (¡¾ 5.6) years and mostly partnered (86.4%) with a gross household income above $26,000 per annum (88.9%). Levels of physical activity were generally low, with only 28.4 % of participants reporting sufficient total activity and 16% of participants reporting sufficient planned (leisure-time) activity. The sample mean for depressive symptom scores measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D) was 6.38 (¡¾ 2.55). The mean depressive symptom scores for participants who reported total moderate-to-vigorous activity levels of sufficient, insufficient, and none, were 5.43 (¡¾ 1.56), 5.82 (¡¾ 1.77) and 7.63 (¡¾ 3.25), respectively. Hierarchical multivariable linear regression modelling indicated that after controlling for covariates, a statistically significant difference of 1.09 points was observed between mean depressive symptom scores of participants who reported sufficient total physical activity, compared with participants who reported they were engaging in no moderate-to-vigorous activity in a typical week (p = 0.05) but this did not reach the criteria for a clinically meaningful difference. Total physical activity was contributed 2.2% to the total 30.3% of explained variance within this model. The other main contributors to explained variance in multivariable regression models were anxiety symptom scores and the number of existing children. Further, a trend was observed between higher levels of planned sitting behaviour and higher depressive symptom scores (p = 0.06); this correlation was not clinically meaningful. Planned sitting contributed 3.2% to the total 31.3 % of explained variance. The number of regression covariates and limited sample size led to a less than ideal ratio of covariates to participants, probably attenuating this relationship. Specific information about the sitting-based activities in which participants engaged may have provided greater insight about the relationship between planned sitting and depressive symptoms, but these data were not captured by the present study. Conclusions The finding that higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms is consistent with the current body of existing literature in pregnant women, and with a larger body of evidence based in general population samples. Although this result was not considered clinically meaningful, the criterion for a clinically meaningful result was an a priori decision based on quality of life literature in non-pregnant populations and may not truly reflect a difference in symptoms that is meaningful to pregnant women. Further investigation to establish clinically meaningful criteria for continuous depressive symptom data in pregnant women is required. This result may have implications relating to prevention and management options for depression during pregnancy. The observed trend between planned sitting and depressive symptom scores is consistent with literature based on leisure-time sitting behaviour in general population samples, and suggests that further research in this area, with larger samples of pregnant women and more specific sitting data is required to explore potential associations between activities such as television viewing and depressive symptoms, as this may be an area of behaviour that is amenable to modification.

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ID Code: 45479
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Marshall, Alison & Miller, Yvette
Keywords: depression, physical activity, pregnancy, public health, sitting
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Aug 2011 01:54
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 14:41

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