Objective: We examined whether long-term leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) has a moderating effect on the association between job strain and depressive symptoms using prospective data.
Methods: Full-time employees (455 men and 480 women) aged 30 to 45 years were followed from 2001 to 2007. Data were collected using questionnaires.
Results: Sustained participation in LTPA was inversely associated with depressive symptoms in employed men and women. The direct relationship of job strain to depressive symptoms was significantly moderated by LTPA only in women when the potential confounders were controlled for.
Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are inversely associated with regular LTPA and directly associated with chronic job strain in both sexes. In women, persistent participation in LTPA may modify the relation between chronic job stress and subthreshold depressive symptoms by reducing depressive symptoms associated with job strain.