Association between muscle strength and depression in a cohort of young adults

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source PLOS ONE
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Sports Studies

Keywords Muscle strength; Mental disorders; Mental health; Muscle strength dynamometer; Depressive disorders; Exercise; Sedentary lifestyle.
Description Background The study investigated the association between knee joint muscle strength and the prevalence of depression in a cohort of young adults.Methods The observational, population-based study was performed with 909 participants (29.02 +/- 2.03 years; 48.73% male) from the Central European Longitudinal Studies of Parents and Children: Young Adults (CELSPAC: YA), who were retained to analysis. Quadriceps and hamstring knee muscle strength were assessed by isokinetic dynamometry, and depression by Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI-II). Statistical comparisons (Mann-Whitney and Chi-squared test) and effect size analyses (Eta-Squared, and Odds Ratio) were conducted.Results The main findings revealed an inverse association between knee joint muscle strength and depression, with individuals who had low muscle strength having 3.15 (95% CI = 2.74-3.62) times higher odds of experiencing depression. Specifically, participants with low extensor strength had 4.63 (95% CI = 2.20-9.74) times higher odds, and those with low flexor strength had 2.68 (95% CI = 1.47-4.89) times higher odds of experiencing depression compared to those individuals with high muscle strength. Furthermore, gender-specific analyses revealed that males with low muscle strength had 2.51 (95% CI = 1.53-4.14) times higher odds, while females had 3.46 (95% CI = 2.93-4.08) times higher odds of experiencing depression compared to individuals with high muscle strength.Conclusions Strong knee muscles seems to be a key factor in preventing depression, specially in female young adults. The results support the importance of promoting an increase in muscle strength through physical activity as a preventive strategy against depression in this population.
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