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Muscle-Strengthening Exercise Links with Lower Odds for Depression in Adolescents

Weijun Yu1,2, Jiangang Sun3, Ying Wu1,*, Si-Tong Chen4

1 School of Physical Education and Sport Training, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, 200438, China
2Faculty of Sport, College of Teacher Education, Taizhou University, Taizhou, 317000, China
3School of Physical Education, West Anhui University, Luan, 237012, China
4 Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, 8001, Australia

* Corresponding Author: Ying Wu. Email:

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2021, 23(2), 277-288.


Purpose: Physical activity is a well-recognized protective factor against depression in adolescents. As a component of physical activity, muscle strengthening exercise (MSE) is also viewed as a correlate associated with lower risks of depression in adults. However, little is known about the association in adolescents. This study aimed to explore the association between MSE and depression in a sample of Chinese adolescents. Method: A self-reported questionnaire was used for data collection including variables of MSE, depression (assessed by Children’s Depression Inventory) and selected sociodemographic factors (e.g., sex, grade, height and weight [for body mass index]). Generalized Linear Models was utilized to estimate the association between MSE and depression. Results: Results showed a negative association between MSE and depression (Beta = –0.66; both MSE and depression were treated as continuous variables). When treating MSE (meeting or not meeting the recommendations) and depression as binary variables, odds ratio for depression in adolescents not meeting the MSE recommendation was significant higher (odd ratio = 1.50, 95%CI: 1.15–1.96) than those meeting the MSE recommendations. Conclusions: This study found that MSE may be a protective factor against MSE in adolescents. Future studies are encouraged to confirm or negate our study finding using improved study design.


Cite This Article

Yu, W., Sun, J., Wu, Y., Chen, S. (2021). Muscle-Strengthening Exercise Links with Lower Odds for Depression in Adolescents. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 23(2), 277–288.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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