The Relationship between Body Size and Depression Symptoms in Adolescents

Samuele Cortese, Bruno Falissard, Marco Angriman, Yolande Pigaiani, Claudia Banzato, Giovanna Bogoni, Maristella Pellegrino, Solange Cook, Franco Pajno-Ferrara, Bernardo Dalla Bernardina, Marie Christine Mouren, Claudio Maffeis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between body size and depressive symptoms, as well as the moderating effects of age, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES), in a sample of young adolescents. Study design: The study group comprised 678 young adolescents (age 11 to 14 years). Body mass index (BMI) z scores were used to estimate body size. Depression symptoms were assessed using the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI). The spline function was used to examine the shape of the relationship between BMI z score and depressive symptoms. Results: In the total sample, CDI scores were lowest for BMI z scores between -1 and -0.5. CDI scores increased progressively for BMI z scores > 0. In boys, CDI scores increased for BMI z scores > 2, whereas in girls, CDI scores increased for BMI z scores > -0.5 and <-1. Age did not have a significant moderating effect. SES had a moderating effect only in boys (P = .011). Conclusions: The relationship between body size and depressive symptoms in young adolescents is curvilinear and is moderated by sex. Heavier-than-average and underweight girls, as well as obese boys, had the highest depression scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-90
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume154
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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