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Observer-rated retardation but not agitation corresponds to objective motor measures in depression

  • Linda van Diermen (a1) (a2), Sebastian Walther (a3), Olivia Cools (a1) (a2), Erik Fransen (a4), Tom K. Birkenhäger (a1) (a5), Bernard C.G. Sabbe (a1) (a2) and Didier Schrijvers (a1) (a2)...



To explore the correlations between observer ratings and instrumental parameters across domains of psychomotor functioning in depression.


In total, 73 patients with major depressive disorder underwent extensive psychomotor and clinical testing. Psychomotor functioning was assessed with (i) an observer-rated scale (the CORE measure) and also objectively with (ii) 24-h actigraphy, and (iii) a fine motor drawing task.


Observer ratings of retardation correlated with instrumental assessments of fine and gross motor functioning. In contrast, observer ratings of agitation did not correlate with observer ratings of retardation or with the instrumental measures. These associations were partly influenced by age and, to a lesser extent, by depression severity.


Psychomotor disturbance is a complex concept with different manifestations in depressed patients. Although observer ratings of retardation correspond well with instrumental measures of the motor domains, objective measurement of agitation and other aspects of psychomotor disturbance require further research.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Linda van Diermen, University Department, Psychiatric Hospital Duffel, Stationsstraat 22c, 2570 Duffel, Belgium. Tel: +32 (0)15 30 40 34; Fax: +32 (0)15 30 40 47; E-mail:


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Observer-rated retardation but not agitation corresponds to objective motor measures in depression

  • Linda van Diermen (a1) (a2), Sebastian Walther (a3), Olivia Cools (a1) (a2), Erik Fransen (a4), Tom K. Birkenhäger (a1) (a5), Bernard C.G. Sabbe (a1) (a2) and Didier Schrijvers (a1) (a2)...


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