Initial evidence suggests that exercise is an effective method in reducing symptoms of depression amongst adolescents. It is important to examine clinician attitudes and practices regarding the incorporation of exercise in mental health treatment, and to examine potential facilitators and barriers to exercise prescription. An online survey was conducted amongst mental health clinicians (N = 125) working in the treatment of adolescent depression. Clinicians held favourable attitudes towards exercise, most frequently ranking exercise as the second most important treatment for adolescent depression following cognitive behaviour therapy. The majority of clinicians were found to prescribe exercise “always” (24.3%) or “most of the time” (43.4%). Significant positive relationships were found between confidence to prescribe exercise and knowledge surrounding exercise prescription and clinician exercise prescription rates, however no significant relationship was identified between clinician levels of exercise and exercise prescription. The most frequently endorsed barriers to exercise prescription included the belief that exercise prescription should be implemented by an exercise professional, a lack of knowledge surrounding exercise prescription for adolescent depression, and the belief that depressed adolescents will not adhere to an exercise program. Overall, clinicians held positive attitudes towards exercise in the treatment of adolescent depression, and often recommended exercise as part of treatment.
- physical activity