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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Housework 'is depressing'
Woman washing dishes
Washing-up can make you feel down
Contemplating a pile of washing-up or cleaning the bathroom lightens few hearts - but scientists have found housework actually makes people depressed.

A study by researchers at the University of Glasgow has found domestic chores lower people's mood, unlike other forms of exercise which are known to boost spirits.

They asked hundreds of people about activity levels at home, at work and in their leisure time.


We found housework had a negative impact

Professor Nanette Mutrie, University of Glasgow
The researchers then used a depression monitor called the hospital and anxiety depression scale to look at how activities affected mood.

They found that although vigorous exercise which caused breathlessness made people feel better, housework failed to improve morale and even made people feel worse.

In addition, it was found activity as part of your job does not improve mood.

'Chore'

Professor Nanette Mutrie, a visiting professor at the Medical Research Council's social and public health sciences unit at Glasgow University told a national newspaper: "There is quite well-documented evidence that moderate and vigorous activity could be a preventative treatment for depression.

Vacuuming
Vacuuming the house may not sweep away the blues
"But when we looked at this more closer we found that it may depend on the activity,

"We found housework had a negative impact."

Professor Mutrie, who is also on the Scottish Executive's national physical task force, told the Sunday Herald: "With vigorous exercise, the effect is clear; the more you do, the better it is for wellbeing.

"With housework it is the opposite - the more you do, the more depression you report."

But she said the negative effect of housework could be due to other factors, such as being at home looking after children.

"It may be that there is a psychological explanation, such as the fact that housework is viewed as a chore - that people feel they have to do it."

The research is to be published in a medical journal.

Coping

A spokeswoman for the mental health charity Mind told BBC News Online: "Sometimes, doing a pile of ironing, or vigorously running the Hoover around the room gives people a small sense of satisfaction.

"But I think most people can relate to a situation where a big pile of ironing or having to clean the bathroom can actually bring you down.

"It really just depends on individuals' coping mechanisms."

See also:

16 Sep 02 | Business
15 May 02 | Health
20 May 01 | Health
06 Jul 01 | Business
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