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Objective: Given the overlap among depressive symptoms, disordered eating, and overweight, identifying shared risk factors for these conditions may inform public health interventions. This study aimed to examine cross-sectional and prospective relationships among these 3 conditions, and identify potential shared eating-related and psychosocial variable risk factors (i.e., body dissatisfaction, dieting, teasing experiences).

Method: A population-based sample (n = 1,902) self-reported depressive symptoms, disordered eating (binge eating, extreme weight control behaviors), weight status, and several putative risk factors (body satisfaction, dieting frequency, weight-related teasing) at 5-year intervals spanning early/middle adolescence, middle adolescence/early young adulthood, and early/middle young adulthood.

Results: There was moderate overlap among depressive symptoms, disordered eating, and overweight at each time point, and moderate stability in each condition over time. Body dissatisfaction and dieting were the most potent shared risk factors for later depressive symptoms, disordered eating, and overweight among males and females (ps < .05).

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms, disordered eating, and overweight share several risk factors, including dieting and body dissatisfaction, which may be effective targets for interventions aiming to simultaneously prevent these 3 conditions.




American Psychological Association

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Health Psychology

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Psychology Commons