It has been reported that depression has an impact on both temporal spatial parameters and walking kinematics in adults. Given the difference in the walking biomechanics between adults and children, this study aimed to compare the gait difference in children aged 9-12 with and without potential depressive mood (PDM).
49 children were recruited from local primary schools. We measured participants’ depression level using Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) and classified them into control (i.e., DASS depression subscale score = 0.6 ± 1.4; n = 23) or PDM group (i.e., DASS depression subscale score = 21.3 ± 5.3; n = 26). Video gait analysis was employed to assess temporal spatial parameters and sagittal plane kinematics during self-paced overground walking. Independent t tests or Mann-Whitney tests were used to compare the gait parameters between the two groups.
Participants exhibited similar gait speed, vertical oscillation of the centre of mass, stance time, swing time, step length, upper and lower limb kinematics between the two groups (p > 0.05). However, children with PDM displayed a greater head flexion than controls (p = 0.026; Cohen’s d = 0.66; moderate effect).
Children with PDM may present a more slumped posture during walking when compared with their counterparts. This kinematics difference can potentially be used as a biomechanical marker for detection of mood problems in this cohort.

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