Korean J Fam Pract.  2021 Oct;11(5):338-344. 10.21215/kjfp.2021.11.5.338.

Association between Handgrip Strength and Psychological Distress: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2015 and 2017)

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea


Handgrip strength (HGS) is a commonly measured indicator of physical activity. As decreases in HGS are associated with mortality and cardiovascular morbidity, it is an important biomarker of disease and a health status. Many studies have investigated the association between HGS and chronic diseases in the elderly, but the relationship of HGS with mental health has been less studied. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the association between HGS and psychological distress (depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation).
Study subjects were 9,589 adults aged ≥19 years who participated in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2015 and 2017. HGS was measured three times in alternating hands, and the maximum value of HGS of the commonly used hand was used as the final grip value. A logistic regression model was used to analyze the associations of HGS with depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation after adjusting for covariates.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms was 4.1% and 9.4% in male and 5.2% and 14.9% in female, respectively. Female showed significantly higher prevalence than male (all P<0.05). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms in the highest tertile of HGS relative to the lowest tertile were 0.54 (0.30–0.95) and 0.68 (0.47–0.99) in male and 0.63 (0.43–0.93) and 0.72 (0.57–0.92) in female, respectively.
HGS was inversely associated with depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation, and can thus serve as a useful predictor of psychological distress.


Handgrip Strength; Depressive Symptoms; Suicidal Ideation; Physical Activity
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