Study: Group activities help to lessen depression

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Continuous participation in community group activities helps to abate depression resulting from loss of physical functioning, according to a new study published in Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used survey data from 4,646 people who initially reported having no functional limitations. Among men who developed physical limitations over a five-year period, those who were continuously involved in recreational groups had less severe depressive symptoms. Increases in depressive symptoms were noted among men who were not involved in recreational groups. Respondents ranged in age from 35 to 92.

Also, people steadily involved in recreational activities, such as hobbies or discussion groups, had better mental health after any loss of physical function. Grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging supported the research.