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Exercise and depression: A treatment manual

I van der Merwe
S Naude


Increased frequencies in unipolarmajor depression and dysthymia evolve into chronic depression (Gotlib & Hammen, 1992:ll). Depression is reportedly the most common disorder, comprising 75% of all psychiatric hospitalisations (Gotlib & Hammen, 1992:17). In the South African context there are few effective manual-based therapy programmes
for the treatment of unipolar major depression or dysthymia. This study aimed to develop a manual-based therapy programme for the treatment of unipolar major depression as well as dysthymia, comprising a short-term intervention strategy (a minimum of eight sessions, and a follow-up session) influenced by a cognitive behavioural model focusing on exercise therapy and medication. The control group received non-specific treatment. The research
results indicated a shift in different mood constructs for the sample group, as measured by the Nowlis Mood Adjective Checklist. Furthermore, negative emotional states decreased in severity and positive states increased, during andafter the intervention. A significant decrease in depression scales was also found, as measured by the
Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Millon Multi-Axial lnventory 11. Furthermore, the personal accounts of the clients were used to gain insight into changing cognitive structures andperspectives, which indicated an increase in concentration, motivation and sense of control.

Keywords: manual-based programme; shott-term intervention; cognitive behavioural model; exercise therapy; medication; depression; major depression; dysthymia; individual therapy; Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; Millon Clinical Multi-Axial Inventory I I ; Nowlis Mood Adjective Checklist

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 9 (4) 2004: pp. 28-41

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eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848