Activity restriction and depression in medical patients and their caregivers: a meta-analysis

Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Aug;31(6):900-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.004. Epub 2011 Apr 28.


Depression commonly occurs in conjunction with a variety of medical conditions. In addition, family members who care for patients with medical diagnoses often suffer from depression. Therefore, in addition to treating illnesses, physicians and other healthcare professionals are often faced with managing secondary mental health consequences. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between activity restriction and depression in medical patients and their caregivers. A total of 34 studies (N = 8053) documenting the relationship between activity restriction and depression were identified for the period between January 1980 and June 2010. Effect sizes were calculated as Pearson r correlations using random-effects models. The correlation between activity restriction and depression was positive and of large magnitude (r = 0.39; 95% CI, .34-0.44). Activity restriction was most strongly correlated with depression in medical patients (r = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.42-0.48), followed by caregivers (r = 0.34; 95% CI, 0.28-0.41) and community-dwelling adults (r = 0.28; 95% CI, 0.25-0.31). Activity restriction associated with medical conditions is a significant threat to well-being and quality of life, as well as to the lives of their caregivers. Assessment and treatment of activity restriction may be particularly helpful in preventing depression.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology