Soli Dubash publishes article on the interrelationship between physical activity and symptoms of depression

May 24, 2024 by Juanita Lam

Congratulations to PhD candidate Soli Dubash on a new publication in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity. In the article, “The interplay of depression symptoms and physical activity: Bidirectional insights from 25-years of the Americans' changing lives panel”, Dubash draws on panel data over several decades to advance a causal inference technique for examining the relationship between physical activity and symptoms of depression. Dubash finds that depression symptoms and physical activity affect each other. Past physical activity predicts future physical activity, and past symptoms of depression predict future symptoms. Though past depression symptoms predict physical activity, past physical activity does not predict symptoms of depression. Dubash explains in a news release that “present depression symptoms can negatively impact your physical activity levels two to five years later, while being inactive today is not related to your future depression symptoms.”

These findings affirm what cross-sectional research has suggested about the link between mental health and physical activity, strengthening these findings using a novel causal inference technique. The full article is available open access in Mental Health and Physical Activity.

Soli Dubash is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. Soli's dissertation focuses on understanding and modelling how social networks and the contexts in which they are enacted shape, and are shaped by, health across the life course. He is particularly interested in examining how our health changes when our relationships change, how our relationships change as our health changes, and how network change contributes to inequality. Soli's research agenda integrates quantitative, computational, and survey methodology to study health and stress processes, social network dynamics, culture, and life course inequalities. His scholarly agenda is dedicated to producing research that (1) can help people make evidence-based decisions about their health and their community members’; (2) holds practical implications for policy design and targeted interventions; and (3) clearly presents results in ways which are publicly accessible, can inform future research design, and facilitate meta-analyses. Soli strongly values open science principles and transparent research practices. By doing so, he aims to both make people aware of the possible effects of their personal ties to influence their health, behaviour, and well-being (and vice versa); and, to allow readers to reach their own decisions as to how he came to these results and their consequences.