Overweight and Depression during Adolescence
Belinda L. Needham, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas at Austin
Purpose: To extend previous research on the association between overweight and depression among adults to a nationally representative sample of adolescents. In addition to examining the association between overweight and depression, we also considered whether this association varies across social structural contexts, depending on group norms about obesity. Finally, we explored additional mechanisms linking overweight to depression, including dieting and self-rated health. Methods: We used survey regression procedures to analyze data from the first wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Results: Adjusting for exercise and sociodemographic characteristics, we found that overweight was associated with depression for girls but not boys. For both groups, the association between relative weight and depression was stronger among younger adolescents. Dieting explained the positive association between overweight and depression for girls, while self-rated health mediated the association between relative weight and depression for younger adolescents.
Presented in Poster Session 5: Health and Mortality