Effects of Physical Activity Interventions for Caregivers of Adults: A Meta-Analysis

Elaine Marshall, Rick A. LaCaille, Lara J. LaCaille, Jung Eun Lee, Emily Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Caregivers of adults afflicted with a variety of chronic physical and mental health conditions are at risk for poorer well-being and reduced health related to chronic stress. Physical activity (PA) interventions may alleviate aspects of this burden, as well as provide benefits to physical health. However, notable limitations exist in the previous reviews that have attempted to synthesize the evidence for the benefits of PA interventions.

METHOD: A meta-analysis was conducted investigating and quantifying the impact of PA interventions on different domains of mental and physical health for caregivers of adults, including only randomized and nonrandomized control trials.

RESULTS: A comprehensive search yielded 25 studies. PA interventions led to small-to-medium effects (Hedges' g = .37, 95% confidence interval [.18, .56]) on mental health, with the most notable impact on quality of life (Hedges' g = .74, 95% CI [48, 1.01]). PA interventions led to trivial effects on physical health (Hedges' g = .15, 95% CI [.01, .31]), with small but significant effects found for mobility outcomes (Hedges' g = .28, 95% CI [.10, .47]). Yoga interventions yielded large effects ( g = .85, 95% CI [.52, 1.17], p < .001) compared to other forms of PA ( g = .24, 95% CI [.40, .43], p = .018), primarily within the domain of mental health.

CONCLUSIONS: PA interventions appear to be effective for improving caregiver health, particularly in relation to psychological health. Further high-quality research using standardized measures for outcome comparison is needed to determine the type, formats, and length of PA interventions that best serve different caregiving populations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Psychology
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Psychological Association


  • Burden
  • Caregiver
  • Physical activity
  • Systematic review

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Meta-Analysis


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