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The relative effects of behavioral activation vs. physical exercise in the treatment of mild to moderate depression
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
University of Canberra, Australia.
Umeå University.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Aim: Despite their potential as low-threshold, low-cost and high-flexibility treatments of depression, behavioral activation and physical exercise have not yet been directly compared. This study has examined the effects of these interventions, administered via the Internet.

Method: In this randomized controlled trial a total of 312 participants meeting the diagnostic criteria for mild to moderate major depression, recruited in multiple cycles and randomized to either a waiting list control group with delayed treatment, or one of the four active treatment groups: (1) physical exercise without a clear psychological treatment rationale; (2) physical exercise with a psychological treatment rationale; (3) behavioral activation a la Lewinsohn; or (4) behavioral activation a la Martel.

Results: A total of 72% were women and the average age of the participants were M=42.3 years (SD=13,5). More than half (53,9%) had a history of previous psychological treatment. Primary outcome measure was the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire. Assessments were made on a weekly basis for the full duration of the acute treatment which was 12 weeks.

Conclusion: The preliminary results are in line with previous online studies showing that all active treatment groups were superior to the waitlist (large effect sizes) and that only minor differences could be identified between the four active groups (large within effect sizes). At the time of the conference 6-month follow-up data will be available in addition to the already collected post- assessment data (analyzed according to the intention-to-treat principle).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. P1.16
Keyword [en]
behavioral activation, physical exercise, depression
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134736OAI: diva2:1037701
The 8th Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions, Seattle, USA, 7-9 April 2016.
Available from: 2016-10-17 Created: 2016-10-17 Last updated: 2016-10-17

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Carlbring, PerLindner, Philip
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Clinical psychology

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