Long-term effects of #bouldering psychotherapy on #depression: benefits can be maintained across a 12-month follow-up

Bouldering psychotherapy (BPT), an intervention that combines a unique style of rock climbing with psychotherapy

Previous studies have identified positive effects of Bouldering Psychotherapy (BPT) on symptoms of depression. The aim of the present study was to investigate the short- and long-term effects of BPT on 97 participants with depression..

BPT took place once a week over a period of 8 weeks. In a waitlist control group design, participants were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks (end of BPT for the intervention group; start of BPT for the waitlist group), 16 weeks, and 12 months.

Depression scores dropped by 7.21 on the BDI-II during the first intervention period with a Cohen’s d of 0.59. A regression analysis at t1 showed that group allocation (p < .001) was the only significant predictor besides the baseline depression score (p < .001). A 12-month (after t0) follow-up measurement showed that the decrease in depression severity remained stable during that time, with values of d = 0.37 for the intervention group and d = 0.43 for the waitlist group.

Limitations of the study are the assessment of symptoms via only self-report, the lack of a control group during follow-up, and different durations of the follow-up period in the two groups.

Our results augment the findings of previous studies regarding the short-term effects of BPT and provide initial evidence that the positive effects of BPT on depression severity can be maintained across a period of 12 months.