Physical Activity and Functional Recovery in Late-life Depression

Sanne Wassink-Vossen

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    With the aging population, late-life depression is a global challenge. Health is important for older persons, but being able to participate in daily activities (again) is more important than the absence of illness. Lifestyle, including physical activity, is regarded as an important and modifiable factor to improve general health and functioning.
    Wassink-Vossen studied the relationship between physical activity, functional recovery and late-life depression among 510 persons aged 60 years and over who participated in the Netherlands Study of Depression in Older persons, supplemented with younger adults from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety.
    Her studies confirm that sufficient physical activity appears to be protective against depression. Nonetheless, the beneficial effect of sufficient physical activity on the course of depression decreases with increasing age. In contrast to previous beliefs, the level of physical activity was not dependent on the severity of the depressive disorder. Therefore, the level of physical activity appears to be a trait characteristic of the depressed person rather than a temporary state during the depressive episode. This implies that personalized lifestyle interventions are needed to increase the level of physical activity.
    This thesis also shows that functional recovery and remission of a depressive episode are two different outcomes. Only one in five persons with late-life depression shows a course of functional recovery. In a systematic review, Wassink-Vossen shows that collaborative care should be the framework to improve late-life depression as well as functioning. In this respect, nurses can play a crucial role.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Oude Voshaar, Richard, Supervisor
    • Naarding, Paul, Co-supervisor
    • Collard, R., Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date22-Dec-2020
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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