J Packheiser, J Schmitz, C Stein, L Pfeifer, G Berretz, M Papadatou-Pastou, J Peterburs and S Ocklenburg

Handedness and depression: A meta-analysis across 87 studies

Journal of Affective Disorders

Alterations in functional brain lateralization, often indicated by an increased prevalence of left- and/or mixed-handedness, have been demonstrated in several psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders like schizophrenia or autism spectrum disorder. For depression, however, this relationship is largely unclear. While a few studies found evidence that handedness and depression are associated, both the effect size and the direction of this association remain elusive. Here, we collected data from 87 studies totaling 35,501 individuals to provide a precise estimate of differences in left-, mixed- and non-right-handedness between depressed and healthy samples and computed odds ratios (ORs) between these groups. Here, an OR > 1 signifies higher rates of atypical handedness in depressed compared to healthy samples. We found no differences in left- (OR = 1.04, 95% CI = [0.95, 1.15], p = .384), mixed- (OR = 1.64, 95% CI = [0.98, 2.74], p = .060) or non-right-handedness (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = [0.96, 1.15], p = .309) between the two groups. We could thus find no link between handedness and depression on the meta-analytical level.