Adolescents’ experiences of facilitators for and barriers to maintaining exercise 12 months after a group-based intervention for depression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Exercise can improve health among adolescents with depression. Understanding facilitators for and barriers to maintaining exercise among adolescents with depression may increase adherence to exercise and consequently improve health. The aim was to explore adolescents’ experiences of facilitators for and barriers to maintaining exercise after a group-based exercise intervention for depression. Interviews (n = 14) were conducted 12 months after the exercise intervention. A qualitative content analysis was used to extract facilitators and barriers. Facilitators for maintaining exercise among adolescents with depression were (1) greater self-esteem by having companionship while exercising and by achieving exercise results and (2) having a supportive environment in terms of accessibility and coaching. Barriers to maintaining exercise were (1) disease burden due to fatigue, social anxiety, and a lack of drive, and (2) lack of a supportive environment including a lack of social support, as well as structural support. In conclusion, facilitating enhanced self-esteem and continuous support for exercising are important for adolescents with depression to maintain exercise. The disease burden of depression is a substantial barrier that needs to be considered to maintain exercise. The findings can contribute to the development of services that promote and coordinate exercise as a treatment among adolescents with depression.


External organisations
  • Halmstad University
  • Spenshult Research and Development Center
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg
  • Region Halland
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Sport and Fitness Sciences


  • Adolescents, Barriers, Depression, Exercise, Facilitators
Original languageEnglish
Article number5427
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 2
Publication categoryResearch