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Rock climbing and acute emotion regulation in patients with major depressive disorder in the context of a psychological inpatient treatment: a controlled pilot trial

Authors Kleinstäuber M, Reuter M, Doll N, Fallgatter AJ

Received 13 June 2017

Accepted for publication 26 July 2017

Published 16 August 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 277—281

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S143830

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman


Maria Kleinstäuber,1,2 Merle Reuter,3 Norbert Doll,4 Andreas J Fallgatter4

1Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Psychology, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany; 2Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; 3Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany, 4Department of General Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany

Background: Major depressive disorder is characterized by deficits in emotion regulation. This study examined associations between rock climbing and acute emotion regulating effects in patients with major depression.
Patients and methods: In a nonrandomized, controlled study, 40 major depressive disorder inpatients were assigned to either a climbing session (n=20) or a relaxation session (n=20). Positive and negative affect, depressiveness, and coping emotions were assessed immediately before and after the session.
Results: Mixed analyses of variance and covariance revealed significant time × group interaction effects for all assessed outcomes (p≤0.012): positive affect and coping emotions significantly increased and negative affect and depressiveness significantly decreased after the climbing session (1.04≤ Cohen’s d ≤1.30), in contrast to a relaxation session (0.16≤ Cohen’s d ≤0.36).
Conclusion: The results show that rock climbing is associated with acute emotion regulatory effects. These findings have to be replicated with a randomized design, and future research should pay attention to possible mechanisms of rock climbing in regard to emotion regulation.

Keywords: physical activity, controlled trial, relaxation, inpatient treatment

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