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Mood Disorders among Older Adults Participating in Individual and Group Active Environments: “Me” versus “Us,” or Both?

DOI: 10.1155/2012/727983

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Involvement in physical activity is associated with improved mental health including better social skills, coping mechanisms, and lower rates of depression. However, evidence on whether group or individual active environments better facilitate these benefits remains inconsistent. This cross-sectional cohort study examined the mental health reports of older adults (aged 50+) in relation to participation in group or individual active environments. Logistic multivariate regression analyses were conducted on the Canadian Community Health Survey (cycle 4.1, 2007-2008, ?? = 4 4 , 0 5 7 ). Results illustrated that those active in both group and individual environments were 59% less likely to have a mood disorder than those who were not participating in either ( ?? < 0 . 0 0 1 ). Also, those active in both environments were 31% less likely to have a mood disorder than those active in an individual environment ( ?? < 0 . 0 0 1 ). Participating in only group or only individual environments had a similar effect compared to individuals not active in any environments for reducing rates of reported mood disorders (22% and 28%, resp.). However, the findings related to only group environments were not significant. These findings reveal that participating in both group and individual physical activities may have important implications for maintaining older adults' mental health status. 1. Introduction Older adults in Canada are the fastest growing cohort of the population [1], a trend echoed in other industrialized nations [2]. Currently, over 35% of the Canadian population is comprised of individuals aged 50 years and above, a number expected to rise as the baby boom generation progresses further into older age [2, 3]. Research has concluded that older individuals who are living longer often do so with a reduced quality of life and a greater disease/disability burden [4]. With these outcomes in mind, a growing field of research has begun to focus on how to facilitate “successful aging” amongst the aging population. A vital component of many successful aging models pertains to maintaining one’s psychological and mental health [5, 6]. Mood disorders are a growing health concern for an aging population. For example, the percentage of Canadians reporting a diagnosed mood disorder rose from 5.3% in 2003 to 6.3% in 2009; 43% of those reporting a mood disorder in 2009 were 50 years of age and greater [7, 8]. A major mood disorder is an umbrella term for a range of depressive and manic disorders, and their variants. Depressive disorders are marked by experiencing negative

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