Objective measures of physical performance associated with depression and/or anxiety in midlife Singaporean women

Menopause. 2019 Sep;26(9):1045-1051. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001355.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify correlates of depression and anxiety in midlife Asian women, with a special focus on the potential role of objectively measured physical performance.

Methods: Sociodemographic characteristics, reproductive health, menopause status, medical history, lifestyle choices, physical activity, and physical performance of healthy women aged 45 to 69 attending routine gynecologic care were collected. Depressive symptoms were assessed utilizing the Center for Epidemiologic Studies for Depression Scale (CES-D) and anxiety symptoms by the General Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7). Upper body physical performance was assessed by handgrip strength, and lower body physical performance was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Chi-square tests and multivariable models were used to assess the crude and adjusted associations, respectively, between the studied risk factors and depression and/or anxiety. The main outcome measures were elevated depressive symptoms ≥16 on the CES-D, and/or elevated anxiety symptoms >10 on the GAD-7 score.

Results: Of 1,159 women (mean age 56.3 ± 6.2), 181 (15.9%) were identified as having depressive and/or anxiety symptoms. Weak upper body (handgrip strength) and poor lower body strength (longer duration to complete the repeated chair stand test) were associated with elevated depressive and/or anxiety symptoms (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.68; 95% CI, 1.18-2.40) and (aOR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.09-1.63), respectively.

Conclusions: Weak upper and lower body physical performances were associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms in midlife Singaporean women. Future trials are required to determine whether strengthening exercises that improve physical performance could help reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms in midlife women. : Video Summary: Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/MENO/A419.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Singapore
  • Surveys and Questionnaires