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J Ment Health. 2013 Aug;22(4):334-40. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2012.745187. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Mood impairments in adults previously diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder.

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Department of Psychology & Sensorimotor Development Research Unit, Goldsmiths College, University of London, London, UK.



Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) affects up to 6% of the population and is diagnosed on the basis of poor motor coordination. While we know rather little about its lifetime consequences, clear and significant difficulties remain through the lifespan for the majority. Reduced physical activity and, outside of the motor domain, significant mental health issues exist for many with DCD.


This study provides the first investigation of the presence of mood disorders in adults with DCD.


Symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed using the Beck Depression and Spielberger Anxiety Inventories in 36 adults previously diagnosed with DCD vs. 49 age- and gender-matched typical controls. Amount and type of physical activity undertaken each week were also reported.


After controlling for their reduced level of weekly physical activity, the group with DCD reported significantly more symptoms of depression, state and trait anxiety than their peers.


This finding has important implications for consideration of intervention in DCD, as well as for investigation of the risk and protective factors at play in long-term outcome. Finally, the findings highlight the need for awareness of motor difficulties in those presenting with high levels of anxiety and depression, and vice versa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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