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The impact of lifestyle Physical Activity Counselling in IN-PATients with major depressive disorders on physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, depression, and cardiovascular health risk markers

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Gerber Markus, Beck Johannes, Brand Serge, Cody Robyn, Donath Lars, Eckert Anne, Faude Oliver, Fischer Xenia, Hatzinger Martin, Holsboer-Trachser Edith, Imboden Christian, Lang Undine, Mans Sarah, Mikoteit Thorsten, Oswald Anja, Pühse Uwe, Rey Sofia, Schreiner Anne-Katrin, Schweinfurth Nina, Spitzer Ursula, Zahner Lukas,
Project Lifestyle physical activity counselling in in-patients with major depressive disorders (PACINPAT): Randomized controlled trial on physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, depression, and cardiovascular health risk markers
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Trials
Volume (Issue) 20(367)
Page(s) 1 - 21
Title of proceedings Trials
DOI 10.1186/s13063-019-3468-3

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a wide-spread and burdensome psychiatric issue. Physical activity counselling may increase lifestyle physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in this specific and particularly vulnerable population, which often suffers from both mental and physical health problems. Therefore, this study will examine the impact of a lifestyle physical activity counselling intervention on physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, depression, and cardiovascular health risk markers among in-patients diagnosed with MDD compared to controls. Secondary purposes are to examine the acceptability and perceived usefulness of the intervention among these patients, to find out whether the effectiveness of the intervention is moderated by genetic factors, and to compare baseline values with an age- and gender-matched group of healthy controls. Methods: The study is designed as a multi-centric two-arm randomized clinical trial including an intervention and placebo control group, allocation concealment, single-blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis. Participants (N=334) will be continuously recruited from four clinics specialized in the treatment of MDD. The intervention builds on a standardized, theory-based, low cost lifestyle physical activity counselling program, which was specifically designed for an in-patient rehabilitation setting. The placebo control condition consists of general instructions about health-enhancing physical activity. Data assessments will take place 2-3 weeks after admission to in-patient treatment (baseline), six weeks (post) and 12 months (follow-up) after discharge from in-patient treatment. Primary outcome is objectively assessed physical activity at follow-up. Discussion: Because regular physical activity has proven to be an important predictor of long-term response and remission in patients with major depression, we believe that our planned study may lay important groundwork by showing how individually-tailored lifestyle physical activity counselling can be integrated into given clinical structures. Improving physical activity may have important implications for tackling metabolic and cardiovascular disease and increasing mood and cognitive functioning in this at-risk population, hence, limiting the future burden of multiple chronic conditions. Increased physical activity may also reduce the likelihood of future depressive episodes. By moving towards the primary prevention of chronic physical conditions, much can be done to enhance the quality and quantity of life of people with MDD.