handgrip strength and depression

Last edited 12/2022 and last reviewed 12/2022

Handgrip strength and risk of depression

A study was undertaken to investigate the association between handgrip strength and risk of depression using repeated measures in adults aged 50 years and over:

  • being physically strong may serve as a preventive factor for depression in older adults, but this is limited up to a maximum specific threshold for men and women
  • when modelled as a continuous variable
    • observed an inverse significant association for each kg increase of handgrip strength and depression up to 40 kg in men and up to 27 kg in women

Depression in cancer survivors and handgrip strength

  • study suggests that low handgrip strength, as a simple and modifiable parameter, is associated with a higher risk of depression in cancer survivors (2)


  • handgrip strength
    • is an easy-to-use, fast and reliable indicator of both sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle mass) and dynapenia (age-related loss of muscle strength).
    • exercise also seems to play a key role in the aforementioned relationships, as it can improve muscle strength and muscle mass, downregulates systemic inflammation and improves neuroplasticity, neuroendocrine and oxidative stress responses
    • handgrip strength has also been observed as a more useful single marker of frailty (a clinical syndrome in older adults characterised by an increased risk for poor health outcomes such as falls, disability, hospital admissions and mortality) for older people of similar age than using chronological age alone