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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00858

Depressive symptom clusters in relation to body weight status: Results from two large European multi-center studies

 Sabrina Baldofski1*,  Nicole Mauche1, Ezgi Dogan-Sander1, Mariska Bot2, Ingeborg Brouwer3, Nadine Paans4, Mieke Cabout3, 4, Margarita Gili5, Gerard van Grootheest3,  Ulrich Hegerl6, 7, Matthew Owens8, Brenda W. Penninx2, Miguel Roca5, Marjolein Visser2,  Edward Watkins8 and  Elisabeth Kohls1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, VU Medical Center, Netherlands
  • 3Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 4Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, VU Medical Center, Netherlands
  • 5Research Institute on Health Sciences, University of Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, and Psychotherapy, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
  • 8Department of Psychology, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom

Background: There is strong evidence for a bi-directional association between depression and obesity. Several biological, psychological and behavior-related factors may influence this complex association. Clinical impression and preliminary evidence suggest that patients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder may endorse very different depressive symptom patterns depending on their body weight status. To date, little is known about potential differences in depressive symptoms in relation to body weight status.
Objective: The aim of this analysis is the investigation of potential differences in depressive symptom clusters (mood symptoms, somatic/vegetative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms) in relation to body weight status.
Methods: Cross-sectional baseline data were derived from two large European multi-center studies: the MooDFOOD trial and the NESDA cohort study, including persons with overweight and obesity and normal-weight reporting subthreshold depressive symptoms (assessed with the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self Report, IDS-SR30). Different measures for body weight status (waist-to-hip ratio [WHR] and body mass index [BMI]) were examined. Propensity score matching was performed and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.
Results: A total of n = 504 individuals (73.0% women) were analyzed. Results show that more somatic/vegetative depressive symptoms, such as pain, change in appetite and weight, gastro-intestinal symptoms, and arousal-related symptoms, were significantly associated with both a higher BMI and higher WHR, respectively. In addition, being male and older age were significantly associated with higher WHR. Mood and cognitive depressive symptoms did not yield significant associations for both body weight status measures.
Conclusions: Somatic/vegetative symptoms and not mood and cognitive symptoms of depression are associated with body weight status. Thus, the results support previous findings of heterogeneous depressive symptoms in relation to body weight status. In addition to BMI, other body weight status measures for obesity should be taken into account in future studies.

Keywords: Depression, depressive symptoms, Obesity, Overweight, BMI - body mass index

Received: 02 Sep 2019; Accepted: 01 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Baldofski, Mauche, Dogan-Sander, Bot, Brouwer, Paans, Cabout, Gili, van Grootheest, Hegerl, Owens, Penninx, Roca, Visser, Watkins and Kohls. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Sabrina Baldofski, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, 04103, Lower Saxony, Germany,