A systematic review of physical activity correlates in alcohol use disorders

Davy Vancampfort, Marc De Hert, Brendon Stubbs, Andrew Soundy, Amber De Herdt, Johan Detraux

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37 Citations (Scopus)
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Physical activity might promote mental and physical health in persons with alcohol use disorder. Understanding the barriers and facilitators of participation in physical activity in persons with alcohol use disorder is an essential first step in order to devise effective physical activity interventions.


The present review provides a systematic quantitative review of the correlates of physical activity in people with alcohol use disorder.


Major electronic databases were searched by two independent authors from inception until June 2014. Keywords included ‘physical activity’ or ‘exercise’ and ‘alcohol dependence’ or ‘alcohol abuse’ or ‘alcohol use disorders’ or ‘alcoholism’.


Five papers evaluating 14 correlates were included. Three studies reported that alcohol dependence was unrelated to physical activity behavior, while alcohol abuse showed positive associations in 2 studies. No demographic variable was related with physical activity participation. Functional impairments and distress associated with alcohol use disorders including increased smoking rates, obesity, anxiety, depression and a lower self-efficacy may limit one's ability to be physically active. Data on social, environmental and policy related factors are currently lacking. No included study assessed physical activity levels utilizing objective measurements (e.g. pedometers, accelerometers).


Although the literature on physical activity correlates in persons with alcohol use disorder still is equivocal, our varied findings support the hypothesis that the participation in physical activity by people with alcohol use disorder is determined by a range of complex factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-201
JournalArchives of Psychiatric Nursing
Issue number4
Early online date2 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


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