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Original article Associations of depressive symptoms with lower extremity function and balance in older adults
Bong Jo Kim, Kyupin Ha, Hyun Soo Kim, Hye Ran Bae, Minkook Sonorcid
Epidemiol Health 2024;e2024021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024021 [Accepted]
Published online: January 15, 2024
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Dong-A University college of medicine, Busan, Korea
Corresponding author:  Minkook Son,
Email: physionet@dau.ac.kr
Received: 28 September 2023   • Revised: 14 December 2023   • Accepted: 18 December 2023

OBJECTIVES
The relationship of depressive symptoms to lower extremity function and balance, especially in older adults without a depression diagnosis, remains unclear. Therefore, our study analyzed this relationship using a large sample of Korean older adults.
METHODS
We used data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service’s Health Screening Program database. Individuals aged 66 years who had undergone the National Screening Program for Transitional Ages in Korea and were without a diagnosis of depressive disorder were included. The lower extremity function and balance were evaluated using 2 physical tests, while depressive symptoms were assessed using a 3-question survey. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between depressive symptoms and lower extremity function and balance.
RESULTS
Among 66,041 individuals, those with depressive symptoms showed significantly higher rates of abnormal lower extremity function and abnormal balance. The adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of depressive symptoms to abnormal lower extremity function and abnormal balance were (OR=1.34; 95% CI, 1.25–1.44) and (OR=1.38; 95% CI, 1.29–1.48), respectively. Assessment of the relationship based on depressive symptom scores revealed that higher scores were associated with higher ORs (p for trend <0.001). Subgroup analyses further confirmed this relationship, especially among patients with cerebrovascular disease or dementia.
CONCLUSIONS
This study revealed an association between depressive symptoms and the abnormal lower extremity function and balance of 66-year-old individuals without a diagnosis of depressive disorder.


Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health