The effects of exercise and social support on mothers reporting depressive symptoms: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2003 Jun;12(2):130-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-0979.2003.00229.x.


A 12-week randomized controlled trial was conducted (n = 20) investigating the effects of a multi-intervention programme of exercise and social support compared to a control group. Both groups had given birth in the past 12 months and were experiencing depressive symptomatology. Pretest data of physical fitness and structured questionnaires were compared to post-test data. The results from the study showed that mothers who were in the multi-intervention group improved their fitness levels and depressive symptomatology significantly more than the control group. However, there were no significant changes to either group's social support levels. These results are encouraging and suggest that a pram push walking intervention might be an effective treatment for mothers suffering postnatal distress.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Support*