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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Apr 30;186(2-3):239-43. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.07.003. Epub 2010 Aug 9.

Are sedentary television watching and computer use behaviors associated with anxiety and depressive disorders?

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Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 1, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Sedentary behaviors may be more common among persons with mental disorders and thereby result in poorer health outcomes. This study examined whether independently of general physical activity level, mental disorders are linked to two important examples of sedentary behavior: computer use and watching television. We used cross-sectional data from The Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Our study sample consisted of 2353 participants (age 18-65) of whom 1701 had a current anxiety and/or depressive diagnosis and 652 were healthy controls. Anxiety and depression diagnoses were conducted using the DSM-IV based Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Controlling for sociodemographics and physical activity level we found that persons with a major depressive disorder (MDD) spend significantly more leisure time using the computer. We found that persons with dysthymia, panic disorder and agoraphobia spend significantly more daily hours watching television compared to controls. This study illustrates that sedentary behaviors occur more frequently among persons with a mental disorder, independent of general physical activity level.

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