Self-reported depression and physical activity in adults with mobility impairments

Dori E. Rosenberg, Charles H. Bombardier, Samantha Artherholt, Mark P. Jensen, Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To test hypothesized associations between depression and physical activity among adults with multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury (SCI), muscular dystrophy (MD), and postpolio syndrome (PPS). Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Survey responses collected from individuals in the Washington state area (participants with SCI) and across the United States (participants with MS, MD, and PPS). Participants: Convenience sample of participants were surveyed (N=1676; MD, n=321; PPS, n=388; MS, n=556; SCI, n=411). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) assessing depressive symptoms and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ) assessing physical activity. Results: The average age was 56 years, 64% were women, 92% were white, 86% had a high school degree or higher, and 56% walked with an assistive device or had limited self-mobility. The IPAQ and GLTEQ explained a small but statistically significant and unique amount of the variance in PHQ-9 scores in all diagnostic groups, with no significant differences in the relation by condition, age, or mobility status (IPAQ R2=.004; GLTEQ R2=.02; both P<.02). Conclusions: Both physical activity measures demonstrated a small but statistically significant association with depression in all 4 diagnostic groups. Research is needed to determine longitudinal relations and whether physical activity interventions could promote improved mood in adults with physical disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Mental health
  • Motor activity
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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