Depressive symptoms and gait dysfunction in the elderly

Tamar C. Brandler, Cuiling Wang, Mooyeon Oh-Park, Roee Holtzer, Joe Verghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Objective: Assess the association between depressive symptoms (not meeting the criteria for major depression) and gait dysfunction in older adults. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Einstein Aging Study, a community-based longitudinal aging study. Participants: Six hundred ten nondemented and nondepressed community-residing adults age 70 and older. Measurements: Depressive symptoms measured using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. To obtain a comprehensive assessment of gait, eight individual quantitative gait parameters were assessed: velocity (cm/s), stride length (cm), cadence (steps/min), swing phase (seconds), stance phase (seconds), double support phase (seconds), stride length variability (SD of stride length), and swing time variability (SD of swing time). Multiple linear regression analysis was applied to study the association of depressive symptoms with gait, adjusting for potential confounders including demographic variables, medical illnesses, and clinical gait abnormalities. Results: Increased level of depressive symptoms was associated with worse velocity, stride, and swing time variability. The relationship of the remaining five gait variables with depressive symptoms was not significant in the fully adjusted models. Conclusions: Higher levels of depressive symptoms are associated with worse performance in specific quantitative gait variables in community-residing older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-432
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Elderly
  • Epidemiology
  • Gait

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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