Obesity as a Prospective Predictor of Depression in Adolescent Females

Kerri N. Boutelle, Peter J Hannan, Jayne Fulkerson, Scott J Crow, Eric Stice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Objective: Both obesity and depression are prominent during adolescence, and it is possible that obesity is a trigger for adolescent depression. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether overweight or obese status contributes to the development of depression in adolescent girls. Design: Participants were 496 adolescent girls who completed interview based measures of depression and had their height and weight measured at four yearly assessments. Repeated measures logistic regressions with generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate whether overweight or obese status were associated with major depression or an increase in depressive symptoms the following year. Main Outcome Measures: Major depression and depressive symptoms were evaluating using a modified version of the K-SADS interview. Overweight and obese status was determined by using standardized protocols to measure height and weight. Results: Results showed that obese status, not overweight status, was associated with future depressive symptoms, but not major depression. This study demonstrated that obesity is a risk factor for depressive symptoms, but not for clinical depression. Conclusions: As depressive symptoms are considered along the spectrum of depression with clinical depression at the high end, these results suggest that weight status could be considered a factor along the pathway of development of depression in some adolescent females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Adolescence
  • depression
  • longitudinal
  • obesity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Obesity as a Prospective Predictor of Depression in Adolescent Females'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this