Washington D.C. [USA], May 27 : A team of researchers have revealed that bouldering, a form of rock climbing performed without the use of ropes or harnesses, for three hours a week may help to treat depression.
According to researchers, bouldering has a number of other important characteristics that make it especially beneficial for the treatment of depression, namely it helps to boost self-efficacy and social interactions.
The University of Arizona Eva-Maria Stelzer and Katharina Luttenberger of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg conducted the study.
The team analysed more than 100 individuals in a bouldering intervention in Germany, where some hospitals have begun to use climbing as a therapeutic treatment.
The participants were randomly split into two groups.
One immediately began the intervention, while the other group had to wait to start bouldering, which involves climbing rocks or walls to a moderate height without ropes or a harness.
Over the course of eight weeks, each participant bouldered for three hours in a week.
They measured depression of group members at different points in the study using the Beck's Depression Inventory and the depression subscale of the Symptom Check List Revised, known as SCL-90-R.
The team's major finding was that during the therapy, the immediate intervention group's Beck's Depression scores improved by 6.27 points, but for the same time period the group that was initially wait-listed improved by only 1.4 points.
This drop in score reflects an improvement of one severity grade from moderate to mild depression levels.
Given the positive results, the team believes that bouldering may be used to complement traditional care for clinical depression.
The findings are scheduled to be presented during the 29th annual Association for Psychological Science Convention in Boston.
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