Grip Strength and Depression Symptoms Among Middle-Age and Older Adults

Mayo Clin Proc. 2020 Oct;95(10):2134-2143. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.02.035.


Objective: To analyze the relationship between grip strength and symptoms of depression, considering sex and age, in adults from 18 countries.

Methods: Cross-sectional data for adults 50 years and older from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe wave 6 (collected in 2015) were analyzed. Grip strength was measured twice on each hand using a handgrip dynamometer. The EURO-D 12-item scale was used to measure depression symptoms. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted. Data analyses were conducted between November 5, 2019, and February 7, 2020.

Results: Men and women who were in quartiles 2, 3, and 4 of grip strength were less likely to have depression symptoms than those in the first quartile of grip strength. Having more grip strength decreased the odds of depression symptoms by 30% (odds ratio 0.70; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.77) and 47% (odds ratio, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.57) for adults aged 50 to 64 years and 65 years and older, respectively, when compared with those with the lowest grip strength. The negative relationship between strong grip strength and depression symptoms was observed among men and women younger and older than 65 years.

Conclusion: There was an association between grip strength and depression symptoms. For clinical practice and geriatric health professionals, assessing adults' grip strength can be used as a signal to screen for physical and mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged