The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health Essay

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Some hypothesize that moderate levels of exercise will decrease the symptoms of mental health conditions (Blumenthal et al., 2007; Diaz & Motta, 2008; Motta, Kuligowski, & Marino, 2010; Rosenbaum, Nguyen, Lenehan, Tiedemann, van der Ploeg, & Sherrington, 2011) and therefore be used as an alternative or complimentary treatment option for mental health (Libby, Pilver, & Desai, 2012).
While the research of Blumenthal et al. (2007) focused on exercise being effective in reducing self-reported depressive symptoms, Diaz and Motta (2008) and Motta, Kuligowski, and Marino (2010) looked at the positive effects of exercise on depression, anxiety and PTSD. The theory of exercise’s positive effect on mental health has heavily been focused on
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However, Diaz and Motta focused their study on adolescent participants and on PTSD. For this study, participants were between the ages of 14 and 17 and were all female from a residential treatment facility that met the criteria for PTSD (Diaz & Motta, 2008). The researchers used the following self-report inventories to measure the level of PTSD: (a) Child PTSD Symptom Scale [CPSS] (Foa, Johnson, Feeny, & Treadwell, 2001), (b) Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children [TSCC] (Briere, 1996), (c) Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children [MASC] (March, 1997), (d) Children’s Depression Inventory [CDI] (Kovacs, 1992) (Diaz & Motta, 2008).
Libby, Pilver & Desai (2012) also conducted a study looking at PTSD but focused their attention on a global effect of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) on the mental health issue. The researchers finalized 599 participants whose information was gathered through the following instruments: (a) National Comorbidity Survey-Replication [NCS-R] (Kessler et al., 2004), (b) National Latino and Asian American Survey [NLAAS] (Algeria et al., 2004), (c) National Survey of American Life [NSAL] (Jackson, Neighbors, Nesse, Trierweiler, & Torres, 2004) (Libby, Pilver, & Desai 2012).
Motta, Kuligowski, and Marino (2010) reviewed the trends in literature on how exercise plays a role in reducing symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety in children. The researchers look at the literature on anxiety, depression