Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Association between Walking and Depression: A Correlational Study with Mexican American Older Adults

Date Range

2020-04-20 to 2020-05-28

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The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between amount of time walking and depressive symptomology in Mexican American older adults. Participants’ data was part of the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly data collected between 2011 and 2012 in five states. The sample included 421 older adults who were predominantly female (60%) and had a mean age of 87. A bivariate correlation was conducted between the amount of time spent walking (minutes) and number of depressive symptoms reported as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D total score). Results showed a negative correlation between minutes walking and number of depressive symptoms endorsed (r=- .22, p=<.001). The findings of this study support previous research suggesting that physical activity (specifically walking) is associated with fewer depressive symptoms (Julien et al, 2015). Further, this study generalizes these findings to Mexican Americans and suggests that the effects of walking on depressive symptomatology previously identified in Caucasians and other ethnicities are also observed in a Hispanic population. Given the increased risk for depressive symptoms in older adults, important clinical implications of this study include the assessment of physical activity in this population by health professionals, as well as education on this topic and encouragement to engage in as much physical activity as possible. Future research should explore the effects of other physical activities on depressive symptomatology.