Exercise effects on depressive symptoms and self-worth in overweight children: A randomized controlled trial

Karen H. Petty, Catherine L. Davis, Joseph Tkacz, Deborah Young-Hyman, Jennifer L. Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Objective To test the doseresponse effects of an exercise program on depressive symptoms and self-worth in children.MethodOverweight, sedentary children (N 207, 711 years, 58 male, 59 Black) were randomly assigned to low or high dose (20 or 40 min/day) aerobic exercise programs (13 ± 1.6 weeks), or control group. Children completed the Reynolds Child Depression Scale and Self-Perception Profile for Children at baseline and posttest.ResultsA doseresponse benefit of exercise was detected for depressive symptoms. A race × group interaction showed only White childrens global self-worth (GSW) improved. There was some evidence that increased self-worth mediated the effect on depressive symptoms.ConclusionsThis study shows doseresponse benefits of exercise on depressive symptoms and self-worth in children. However, Blacks did not show increased GSW in response to the intervention. Results provide some support for mediation of the effect of exercise on depressive symptoms via self-worth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-939
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009



  • Children
  • Depression
  • Health behavior
  • Health promotion and prevention
  • Obesity
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Self-worth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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