Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Katharine Hill


Social Work


Despite continued growth and improvements in traditional treatments for adolescent depression and anxiety, the rates at which adolescents are experiencing depression and anxiety continue to increase. Current research indicates that physical activity has a positive correlation with mental health. While staying true to the ethics and values that guide clinical social work practice, how can clinicians use aerobic exercise to treat adolescent depression and/or anxiety? This Systematic Literature Review SLR collected and synthesized findings from similar studies in order to identify specific aerobic exercises that have been successful in treating adolescent depression, common strategies for implementation and tools and strategies used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. Aerobic exercise interventions that have been successful in treating adolescent depression involve high levels of support, three 45 minute sessions of preferred exercise intensity per week for 10 weeks. The outcome is a delayed response to treatment and a lasting decrease in symptoms in comparison to traditional treatments, with clients retaining remission one year after the conclusion of the intervention. The findings of this research indicate that aerobic exercise can be successfully and ethically implemented as a treatment for adolescent depression, due to a lack of research on the use of aerobic exercise in treating adolescent anxiety. Clinical social workers and other mental health professionals are invited to consider a number of variables when utilizing aerobic exercise, including supervision, consultation and their own clinical judgment.

Included in

Social Work Commons