Physical Activity, Approach-Avoidance Temperament and Depressive Symptoms
The goal was to assess the connections between vigorous physical activity (VPA), approach-avoidance temperament and depressive symptoms. Two studies were conducted. Study 1, correlational, the hypothesis was that METs-VPA will be linked to depressive symptoms via its impact on both dimensions of temperament (approach and avoidance). 335 college students completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, the Depressive Symptoms Scale (DSS), and the Approach-Avoidance Temperament Questionnaire (Ap-AvTQ). Results showed that both avoidance and approach temperament could be considered potential mediators between VPA and depressive symptoms. The direct and total effects of VPA (mediated by approach-avoidance temperament) over depressive symptoms were -.1453 (p = .006) and -.0581 (p = .2549), respectively; while the indirect effect through both mediators was -.0872 (p = .0002). Study 2, longitudinal, the hypothesis that the model described in study 1 was invariant across time. A VPA program was conducted in 149 college students. Participants completed the DSS and the Ap-AvTQ. The true intraindividual change modeling technique, a more direct approach to modeling interindividual differences in intraindividual change without using a control group, showed that participants’ depressive symptoms were predicted through both mediators of temperament: approach (γ = -.24, p = .003) and avoidance (γ = .30, P < .001). VPA was positively linked to approach-temperament, which was negatively connected to depressive symptoms. VPA was negatively linked to avoidance-temperament, which was positively connected to depressive symptoms. It seems possible to influence depressive symptoms through both dimensions of temperament using VPA.
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