Objective: Examine interactive effects of life events, perceived stress and depressive symptoms during a randomized controlled aerobics intervention among women (aged 18-30) in the urban U.S. Midwest, 2006-2009. Method: Participants [n = 372 at baseline and n = 303 at follow-up] completed perceived stress, depressive symptoms and life events scales at baseline and 5-6 month follow-up. Life events were correlated with perceived stress and depressive symptoms scales using Pearson correlation. Multivariate linear regression tested the relationship between the 20 most common life events with perceived stress and depressive symptoms. Regression models explored relationships between life events, perceived stress and depressive symptoms and the intervention effect. Results: Higher levels of perceived stress and depressive symptoms correlated with more life events. At baseline, for every additional life event, depressive symptoms were higher; follow-up showed marginal significance with depressive symptoms, but a strong positive association with perceived stress. In the stratified model, for every life event at follow up, the perceived stress scale increased by 0.68 in the exercise group, but not in the controls. For every life event at follow-up, depressive symptoms were higher in controls, but not in the exercise group. Conclusion: Perceived stress and depressive symptoms co-occurred with life events at baseline and follow-up for participants. At follow up, perceived stress increased significantly among exercisers; depressive symptoms were significantly higher among controls. Findings suggest that new participation in structured physical activity entails a change in daily life that may buffer against depressive symptoms in relation to life events but not perceived stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health