Exercise for depression in older adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials adjusting for publication bias



To evaluate the antidepressant effects of exercise in older adults, using randomized controlled trial (RCT) data.


We conducted a meta-analysis of exercise in older adults, addressing limitations of previous works. RCTs of exercise interventions in older people with depression (≥ 60 years) comparing exercise vs. control were eligible. A random-effects meta-analysis calculating the standardized mean difference (SMD) (95% confidence interval [95%CI]), meta-regressions, and trim, fill, and fail-safe number analyses were conducted.


Eight RCTs were included, representing 138 participants in exercise arms and 129 controls. Exercise had a large and significant effect on depression (SMD = -0.90 [95%CI -0.29 to -1.51]), with a fail-safe number of 71 studies. Significant effects were found for 1) mixed aerobic and anaerobic interventions, 2) at moderate intensity, 3) that were group-based, 4) that utilized mixed supervised and unsupervised formats, and 5) in people without other clinical comorbidities.


Adjusting for publication bias increased the beneficial effects of exercise in three subgroup analysis, suggesting that previous meta-analyses have underestimated the benefits of exercise due to publication bias. We advocate that exercise be considered as a routine component of the management of depression in older adults.

Key words: Exercise; depression; older adults; publication bias; meta-analysis 


Autor / Fonte:Felipe B Schuch, Davy Vancampfort, Simon Rosenbaum, Justin Richards, Philip B Ward, Nicola Veronese, Marco Solmi, Eduardo L Cadore, Brendon Stubbs Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 2016 July 18
Link: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbp/2016nahead/1516-4446-rbp-1516444620161915.pdf