Differences and similarities in postural alterations caused by sadness and depression

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Oct;18(4):540-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.12.010. Epub 2013 Dec 24.


The present study investigated the existence of a relationship between depression and body posture in 40 women, aged between 20 and 30 years, who had normal body mass indices (or were underweight) and absence of neurological, psychiatric, or musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of the present study was to investigate the existence of a relationship between sadness, depression and the posture represented by the angle of Tales, head inclination, shoulder inclination, and forward head and shoulder protrusion. The degree of depression was rated on analogue scales representing current and usual depression and current and usual sadness and by the Beck Depression Inventory. The results indicated that a relationship exists between: Beck depression and the angle of Tales (p = 0.01), current depression and inclination of the head (p = 0.05) and inclination of the shoulders (p = 0.006), and usual depression and protrusion of the shoulder (p = 0.02). Inclination of the shoulders is associated with current sadness (p = 0.03; r = 0.443) and usual sadness (p = 0.04; r = 0.401). Usual sadness is also associated with protrusion of the shoulder (p = 0.05; r = 0.492). No associations were found with protrusion of the head and the emotional variables assessed. The conclusion was that depression and sadness might possibly change posture. Consequently, postural assessment and treatment may assist in diagnosing and treating depression.

Keywords: Analogue scales; Depression; Emotion; Postural assessment; Posture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Head / physiology
  • Humans
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Shoulder / physiopathology