Low physical activity is associated with two hypokinetic motor abnormalities in psychosis

Sebastian Walther*, Irena Vladimirova, Danai Alexaki, Lea Schäppi, Kathrine S.F. Damme, Vijay A. Mittal, Stewart A. Shankman, Katharina Stegmayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Individuals with schizophrenia engage in more sedentary behavior than healthy controls, which is thought to contribute to multiple health adversities. Age, medication side effects and environment are critical determinants of physical activity in psychosis. While motor abnormalities are frequently observed in psychosis, their association with low physical activity has received little interest. Here, we aimed to explore the association of actigraphy as an objective measure of physical activity with clinician assessed hypokinetic movement disorders such as parkinsonism and catatonia. Furthermore, we studied whether patients with current catatonia would differ on motor rating scales and actigraphy from patients without catatonia. In 52 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, we cross-sectionally assessed physical activity using wrist actigraphy and ratings of catatonia, parkinsonism, and negative syndrome. The sample was enriched with subjects with severe psychomotor slowing. Lower activity levels correlated with increased age and severity of catatonia and parkinsonism. The 22 patients with catatonia had lower activity as well as higher scores on parkinsonism, involuntary movements, and negative symptoms compared to the 30 patients without catatonia. Collectively, these results suggest that various hypokinetic motor abnormalities are linked to lower physical activity. Therefore, future research should determine the direction of the associations between hypokinetic motor abnormalities and physical activity using longitudinal assessments and interventional trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-263
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Actigraphy
  • Cardiometabolic health
  • Catatonia
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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