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Effectiveness of self-determination theory-based physical exercise in improving mentaland physical health among individuals with depression

[Speaker] Cheng, Winnie Wing Lam:1
[Co-author] Mak, Winnie Wing Sze:1
1:The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)

Physical exercise has been found to be an effective adjunct intervention for individuals with moderate to severe
depression. However, one of the major challenges encountered is in maintaining their exercise adherence.
Intrinsic motivation plays a vital role in sustaining exercise, particularly in the face of numerous psychosocial
barriers. The self-determination theory (SDT) has been widely applied in health promotion in the attempt to
enhance intrinsic motivation. The present study used a randomized controlled design to assess the effectiveness
of SDT-based exercise program (SDTE), relative to a standard exercise program (SE), in enhancing class
attendance and physical activity, which may alleviate depressive symptoms, promote physical fitness, and
facilitate overall recovery of individuals with depression. Results indicated that both SDTE and SE groups
increased intrinsic motivation, and demonstrated reduction in depressive and anxiety symptoms and increase in
vitality, hand grip strength, and flexibility.
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