Test-retest study of the six-minute walk test in people with bipolar disorder

Davy Vancampfort*, Sabine Wyckaert, Pascal Sienaert, Marc De Hert, Andrew Soundy, Simon Rosenbaum, Justin Richards, Michel Probst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The multidisciplinary care for bipolar disorder is highly fragmented with limited opportunities for prevention and treatment of medical co-morbidities. We examined the reliability of the 6-minute walk test (6MWT). Secondary aims were to assess minimal detectable changes (MDC(95)), practice effects and the impact of clinical conditions.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Two 6MWTs were administered within 3 days to 46 (23♂) inpatients with a DSM-V diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Physical complaints before and after the 6MWT were recorded. Patients completed the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self Report (QIDS-SR) and Hypomania Check List-32.

RESULTS: Patients walked 594.7±121.3 meters and 600.0±122.9 meters at the first and second test. The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.97-0.99). The MDC(95) was 37.8 meters for men and 52.9 meters for women. No practice effect was detected. Longer illness duration, higher QIDS-SR scores and the presence of feet or ankle static problems or pain were independently related to shorter 6MWT distance accounting for 59.8% of the variance.

CONCLUSION: The 6MWT is a clinically feasible tool for evaluating the functional exercise capacity in patients with bipolar disorder. Health care professionals should consider depression and physical pain when developing rehabilitation programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatria Danubina
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Exercise
  • Pain
  • The 6-minute walk test
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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