Close Search
News  |  Careers

Less Time at the Desk Can Alleviate Depression - Study

23 September 2013 at 10:46 am
Staff Reporter
Researchers have found that spending less time sitting down could improve symptoms of depression.

Staff Reporter | 23 September 2013 at 10:46 am


Less Time at the Desk Can Alleviate Depression - Study
23 September 2013 at 10:46 am

Researchers have found that spending less time sitting down could improve symptoms of depression.

The study Sitting-time, physical activity and depressive symptoms in mid-aged women, by researchers from Victoria University, The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology and first published in the American Journal of preventive Medicine, examined the concurrent and prospective associations between both sitting time and physical activity with prevalent depressive symptoms in middle-aged women.

More than 8000 women, aged 50 to 55 years old took part in the study, with the women surveyed by mail in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Women who sat more than seven hours per day were three times more likely to have depressive symptoms than women who sat less than four hours per day, the research found.

Depressive symptoms were also more likely for women who did some physical activity and twice as likely for women who did no physical activity compared to those who met the physical activity guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

It also showed that women who did no physical activity were more likely to have future depressive symptoms than women who did meet physical activity guidelines.

The study said: “The current study adds that the link between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms is not limited to younger, [26] older [24;25] or overweight population groups [27;28] or to sedentary behavior associated with screen time only. [25-27]

“This study extends previous cross-sectional work by considering the combined effects of sitting-time and PA, and is consistent with other research demonstrating that combinations of high sedentary behavior (screen-time) and no PA are associated with the lowest health related quality of life  in adults. [42]”

Researchers found that both sitting-time and low physical activity were associated with “increased risk of current depressive  symptoms, and in combination, the risk further increased”.

“However, only lack of PA was associated with increased risk of future depressive symptoms, irrespective of sitting-time,” the study said.

“Women with depressive symptoms were less likely to increase PA levels over time, suggesting a vicious circle whereby inactive women are more likely to become depressed and those who are depressed are less likely to increase PA.

“Based on these findings, lifestyle interventions for depression in mid-aged women should include strategies to increase PA, to a level commensurate with meeting PA guidelines, to both alleviate current depressive symptoms and prevent future symptoms.

“There may be some justification for strategies to reduce sitting-time to alleviate current symptoms.

“More prospective and intervention studies are needed to clarify these associations, and their direction. Furthermore, future studies should clarify the role of domain specific sitting-time.”

References: [24] Ku PW, Fox KR, Chen LJ, Chou P. Physical activity, sedentary time and subjective well-being in Taiwanese older adults. Internat J Sport Psychol 2011; 42(3):245-262.

[25] Hamer M, Stamatakis E, Mishra GD. Television- and screen-based activity and mental well-being in adults. Am J Prev Med 2010; 38(4):375-380.

[26]Teychenne M, Ball K, Salmon J. Physical activity, sedentary behavior and depression among disadvantaged women. Health Educ Res 2010; 25(4):632-644.

[27]Breland JY, Fox AM, Horowitz CR. Screen time, physical activity and depression risk in minority women. Ment Health Phys Act 2012; 2012:710427.

[28]Vallance JK, Winkler EA, Gardiner PA, Healy GN, Lynch BM, Owen N. Associations of objectively-assessed physical activity and sedentary time with depression: NHANES (2005-2006). Prev Med 2011; 53(4-5):284-288.

[42] Davies CA, Vandelanotte C, Duncan MJ, van Uffelen JG. Associations of physical activity and screen-time on health related quality of life in adults. Prev Med 2012; 55(1):46-49.

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at or download our contributor guidelines.
Most Viewed


Webinar Value Packs

Your email address will not be published.


Battling trafficking one stitch at a time

Jonathan Alley

Friday, 27th May 2022 at 11:30 am

So tell us about yourself…

Jonathan Alley

Friday, 27th May 2022 at 10:00 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook