Exercise Training Improves Depressive Symptoms in People with Multiple Sclerosis: Results of a Meta-Analysis
Objectives: We conducted a meta-analysis examining the effect of exercise training on depressive symptoms in MS.
Methods: We searched PubMed for randomized controlled trials (RCT) of exercise training and depression as an outcome in samples with MS. There were 12 RCTs that met inclusion criteria and provided enough data for effect size (ES) generation (Cohen’s d). An overall effect size (ES) was calculated using a random effects model and expressed as Hedge’s g.
Results: The weighted mean ES was small, but statistically significant (Hedge’s g = 0.37, SE=0.08, 95% CI=0.20-0.53, z = 4.38, p < .001) indicating the exercise training resulted in an improvement in depressive symptoms compared with control. The overall effect was not heterogeneous (Q=12.66, df = 11, p=0.316, I²=13.07).
Conclusions: The cumulative evidence indicates that exercise training can yield a small, yet statistically significant and reliable reduction in depressive symptoms for people with MS.