Depression Associated With Balance Impairments in Multiple Sclerosis

Investigators note that depression should be evaluated and treated in patients with multiple sclerosis and may hinder balance rehabilitation.

An association has been found between depression and balance impairment in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 

This study included 75 individuals with MS, 69% of whom were women and whose mean age was 38.8 (SD 10). Individuals had a mean score of 3.0 (SD 1.4) on the Expanded Disability Status Scale, which was used to evaluate the severity of MS disability, and 53% of individuals experienced depression as classified by the Beck Depression Inventory II. There was a significant association between depression and balance measurements and Expanded Disability Status Scale, although only depression and age held significant predictive power for balance.

Analysis of individuals with MS was performed using a cross-sectional design. Balance was assessed using the Berg Balance Scale and Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale, and the relationship between balance and depression was investigated using the Pearson correlation coefficient. To determine the predictive ability of depression for balance impairments, multiple linear stepwise regressions were utilized.

Limitations of this study included a lack of neuropsychiatric depression screening during data collection, as well as a lack of data on what medications may have affected depression in the subjects. 

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The study researchers conclude that “[depression] and balance were found frequent and associated in people with MS. Importantly depression was a significant predictor for balance impairments in individuals with MS. Balance rehabilitation may be hindered by depression. Therefore, depression should be evaluated and treated properly in individuals with MS.”


Alghwiri AA, Khalil H, Al-Sharman A, El-Salem K. Depression is a predictor for balance in people with multiple sclerosisMult Scler Relat Disord. 2018; 24:28-31.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor