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Longitudinal Associations Between Walking Frequency and Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults: Results from the VoisiNuAge Study

Authors

  • Dominic Julien PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique de l'Université de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    • Address correspondence to Dominic Julien, Direction de Santé Publique de l'Agence de la Santé et des Services Sociaux de Montréal, 1301, Sherbrooke East, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2L 1M3. E-mail: dominic.julien@umontreal.ca

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  • Lise Gauvin PhD,

    1. Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    2. Département de Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    3. Centre de Recherche Léa-Roback sur les Inégalités Sociales de Santé de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Lucie Richard PhD,

    1. Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique de l'Université de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    2. Centre de Recherche Léa-Roback sur les Inégalités Sociales de Santé de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    3. Faculté des Sciences Infirmières, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    4. Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Yan Kestens PhD,

    1. Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    2. Département de Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    3. Centre de Recherche Léa-Roback sur les Inégalités Sociales de Santé de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Hélène Payette PhD

    1. Centre de Recherche sur le Vieillissement, Centre de Santé et des Services Sociaux, Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
    2. Département des Sciences de la Santé Communautaire, Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
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Abstract

Background

Cross-sectional studies show that walking is associated with depression among older adults, but longitudinal associations have rarely been examined. The aim of this study was to investigate longitudinal associations between walking frequency and depressive symptoms in older adults to determine which variable is the stronger prospective predictor of the other.

Design

Longitudinal; four repeated measures over 5 years.

Setting

Population-based sample of urban-dwelling older adults living in the Montreal metropolitan area.

Participants

Participants from the VoisiNuAge study aged 68 to 84 (N = 498).

Measurements

Main exposures: depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale) and number of walking days in previous week (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly). Covariates: age, education, and number of chronic illnesses. Cross-lagged panel analyses were performed in the entire sample and in sex-stratified subsamples.

Results

Depressive symptoms predicted walking frequency at subsequent time points (and more precisely, higher depressive symptoms were related to fewer walking days), but walking frequency did not predict depressive symptoms at subsequent time points. Stratified analyses revealed that prospective associations were statistically significant in women but not men.

Conclusion

The longitudinal association between walking frequency and depressive symptoms is one in which depressive symptoms predict reduced walking frequency later. Higher depressive symptoms are more likely a cause of reduced walking because of time precedence than vice versa. Future research on longitudinal relationships between meeting physical activity recommendations and depression are warranted.

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