Research Impact: People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) are typically less likely to meet the physical activity guidelines than their healthy counterparts; however, they may also have more to gain from physical activity. Common pharmacological treatments for GAD often have side-effects that can be reduced by physical activity (e.g., weight gain), and people with GAD are more likely to report physical comorbidities that can be prevented by physical activity. However, prior to the current study, there had been no examination of correlates of physical activity among people with GAD. In a sample of 1,237 community-dwelling adults with probable-GAD from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, physical health and physical performance variables accounted for the greatest amount of variation observed in meeting physical activity guidelines. These findings have important implications because physical activity may also improve physical health and performance variables. Improvements in these factors have been associated with improved mental health, but could also substantially reduce the personal burden, including heightened medical comorbidity of GAD. This study supports the ongoing work of IRC Scholar, Brett Gordon, who is conducting a resistance training intervention among people with GAD. Resistance training is known to improve physical health, and a previous trial has shown it to be an effective treatment for people with GAD.
McDowell CP, Gordon BR, MacDonncha C, Herring MP (2019) Physical activity correlates among older adults with probable generalized anxiety disorder: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. General Hospital Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2019.04.012