Association between muscular strength and depressive symptoms

A narrative review
  • Konstantinos VolaklisEmail author
  • Temur Mamadjanov
  • Christa Meisinger
  • Jacob Linseisen
main topic


There is increasing evidence for an association between low muscular strength and depressive symptoms. In this review the existing literature on the association between muscular strength and depression particularly in older people as reported in epidemiological studies is summarized. From the literature search, conducted in PubMed (January 1980–May 2018), 17 papers (8 cross-sectional and 9 longitudinal studies) were selected. All cross-sectional studies reported significantly lower odds of having depressive symptoms with increased levels of muscular strength and this association persisted even after adjusting for several confounders including the level of physical activity. The majority of the longitudinal studies also reported that low muscular strength was independently associated with a higher risk of developing depression but more studies are needed to confirm this evidence. Furthermore, future investigations are needed to explore the exact mechanisms of muscular strength in relation to depression. Low muscular strength is a modifiable factor for depression, which is of great public health interest.


Muscular strength Depression Public health Epidemiological studies Risk 

Assoziation zwischen Muskelkraft und depressiven Symptomen

Ein narrativer Review


Es gibt zunehmend wissenschaftliche Hinweise auf einen Zusammenhang zwischen niedriger Muskelkraft und depressiven Symptomen. Ziel dieser Übersichtsarbeit ist eine Zusammenfassung der Daten zum Zusammenhang von Muskelkraft und Depressionsrisiko vor allem bei älteren Menschen. Die Literaturrecherche, die in PubMed durchgeführt wurde (Januar 1980 bis Mai 2018), erbrachte 17 Veröffentlichungen (8 Quer- und 9 Längsschnittstudien). In allen Querschnittstudien wurde eine signifikant geringere Wahrscheinlichkeit für depressive Symptome mit erhöhter Muskelkraft beobachtet, und diese Assoziation blieb auch nach Adjustierung für verschiedene Störfaktoren, einschließlich der körperlichen Aktivität, bestehen. In der Mehrzahl der Längsschnittstudien wurde berichtet, dass eine niedrige Muskelkraft mit einem höheren Risiko für die Entstehung einer Depression einhergeht, jedoch sind weitere Studien erforderlich, um diese Evidenz weiter zu belegen. Zusammenfassend lässt sich ableiten, dass Muskelkraft als ein modifizierbarer Risikofaktor im Zusammenhang mit der Entstehung von Depressionen zu verstehen ist, was von großem Interesse für die öffentliche Gesundheit ist. Zukünftige Studien sind erforderlich, um die genauen Mechanismen der Muskelkraft in Bezug auf Depressionen zu untersuchen.


Muskelkraft Depression Öffentliche Gesundheit Epidemiologische Studien Risiko 


Conflict of interest

K. Volaklis, T. Mamadjanov, C. Meisinger, and J. Linseisen declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantinos Volaklis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Temur Mamadjanov
    • 1
  • Christa Meisinger
    • 1
  • Jacob Linseisen
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für EpidemiologieLMU München am UNIKA-TAugsburgGermany

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