DATE: Depressed adolescents treated with exercise: Study rationale and design for a pilot study

Carroll W. Hughes, Madhukar H. Trivedi, Joseph Cleaver, Tracy L. Greer, Graham J. Emslie, Beth Kennard, Shauna Dorman, Tyson Bain, Judy Dubreuil, Conrad Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


There is an important need for non-medication interventions for depressed youth. The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using a standardized aerobic exercise regime to treat non-medicated clinically depressed adolescents based on adherence and completion rates, including 1) establishing effect sizes for the primary outcomes including the Chidren's Depression Rating Scale - Revised (CDRS-R) and Actical (energy expenditure data) as well as selected secondary outcomes; (e.g., Clinical Global Improvement, depression rating scales, exercise logs, attitudes), and 2) determining whether moderate to strenuous exercise (12 kcal/kg/week [KKW]) versus a control stretching activity (<4 KKW) for 12 weeks leads to a clinically meaningful reduction in depressive symptoms and/or improved psychosocial functioning. The challenge is to develop an exercise intervention that can motivate a typically sedentary depressed adolescent to exercise on a regular basis. The goal is to demonstrate that exercise alone can provide an important and effective non-medication intervention for adolescent depression. This paper reports on the rationale and design of a pilot study which aims to inform the design of a larger trial to evaluate the efficacy of aerobic exercise to treat adolescent depression. After describing the case for exercise within the broader context of the prevalence of adolescent depression and other treatments, the paper describes the intervention and procedures for data collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-85
Number of pages10
JournalMental Health and Physical Activity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Adolescent depression
  • Childhood depression
  • Exercise
  • Exercise and depression
  • MDD
  • Pediatric depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'DATE: Depressed adolescents treated with exercise: Study rationale and design for a pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this