Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2015 Nov;30(11):1120-8. doi: 10.1002/gps.4340. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

Dual-tasking gait variability and cognition in late-life depression.

Author information

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.



Studies have demonstrated an association between major depressive disorder (MDD) symptoms and fall risk in older adults, which may be at least partially mediated by executive functioning skills. There have also been observations of increased gait variability associated with fall risk and disease. This preliminary study first sought to understand whether gait variability in the context of dual task cost differs among older adults with MDD, relative to those with no history of psychiatric illness, and second, to identify relationships between gait variability measures and cognitive functioning in the context of MDD.


We recruited 15 older adults with MDD and 17 non-depressed (ND) community-dwelling older adults. All participants had impaired balance based on unipedal stance time. Assessments included neuropsychological measures and measures of gait variability using an instrumented gait mat (GAITRite© ) in the context of dual task relative to single task performance (i.e., dual task cost).


The groups did not differ on any gait variability parameters. The MDD group demonstrated poorer performance in the psychomotor speed domain, relative to the ND group, but cognitive functioning between the groups in other domains was equivalent. In MDD, increased variability in stride time, stride velocity, and swing time during dual-tasking were associated with poorer executive functioning and visual memory. In ND, no significant relationships between gait variables and cognitive performance were observed.


Findings suggest that unique cognitive mechanisms underlie mobility problems associated with fall risk in late-life depression.


balance; executive functioning; fall; gait; late-life depression; mobility

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for MLibrary (Deep Blue)
Loading ...
Support Center