Indexed on: 26 Mar '10Published on: 26 Mar '10Published in: Aging & mental health
This study examines the relationship between depressive symptoms and walking behavior across 30 months in a prospective study of 217 community-dwelling, Hispanic older adults in Miami, Florida (ages 70-100 years).Analyses examine the direction of the relationship between depressive symptoms and physical activity (i.e., walking) over time, as well as test for a potential bi-directional or reciprocal relationship between these two variables.Structural equation modeling (SEM) with a cross-lagged panel design revealed that walking was unrelated to subsequent depressive symptoms. However, depressive symptoms were related to subsequent walking behavior at every time-point, such that higher levels of depressive symptoms were predictive of less walking in the future. Older adults who had clinically-relevant depressive symptoms at the initial assessment had 1.34 times the risk of not walking 30 months later, compared to older adults without clinically-relevant depressive symptoms.Results support the need for primary care providers to evaluate and address depressive symptoms among older adults, as a means of reducing sedentary behavior and potentially improving health. Further research on the prevention and management of depressive symptoms and sedentary behavior is needed, given the morbidity related to both of these health risks, particularly for minority and low-socio-economic status (SES) older adults.