Overweight and obesity: the significance of a depressed mood

M.Q. Werrij*, S. Mulkens, H.J. Hospers, A.T.M. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: Comorbid depression has been found to increase morbidity in a variety of disorders. This study aimed to investigate whether the presence of depressive symptoms in overweight and obese people is related to increased specific eating psychopathology and decreased self-esteem. Methods: Overweight/obese people seeking dietary treatment were grouped according to their scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), resulting in a mildly to moderately depressed group (BDI >= 10; n = 66; the symptomatic group) and a non-depressed group (BDI <10; n = 83). Eating psychopathology was measured by the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q); self-esteem was measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Results: Symptomatic people had more shape, weight and eating concerns (P-values <0.001); scored higher on restraint (P <0.01); had lower self-esteem (P <0.001); and had a higher BMI (P <0.05) than non-depressed people. Furthermore, the percentage of bingers was higher in the symptomatic group (P <0.01). Conclusion: Symptomatic participants suffered more than non-depressed participants, and not only from their depression. Practice implications: For dieticians treating overweight and obese people, the BDI is a useful instrument for identifying the subgroup with depressive symptoms-the group that is at risk for (eating) psychopathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-131
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


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