The Relation between Eating- and Weight-Related Disturbances and Depressive Symptoms among Early and Late Adolescents

Jennine S. Rawana and Ashle


A substantial proportion of adolescents experience clinical and subclinical depression. It is particularly important to study novel risk factors that may broaden our understanding of depression during adolescence. There is growing literature on the relation between eating- and weight-related disturbances (e.g., body weight regulation strategies, body dissatisfaction) and depression during adolescence; however, age and gender differences in this relation remain unclear. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, the current study examined the relation between eating-and weight-related disturbances and depressive symptoms among early and late adolescentgirls and boys. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the relation between eating- and weightrelated disturbances and depressive symptoms after accounting for self-esteem, pubertal status, and body mass index among early and late adolescent girls and boys. Several body weight regulation strategies, including binge eating, purging, and weight control behaviors were associated with depressive symptoms and varied by gender and age. The results are clinically meaningful and have the potential to inform youth mental health services. For example, depression prevention programs could increase their effectiveness by encouraging healthy body weight regulation strategies and nutritional eating, particularly among early adolescents.\r\n

Relevant Publications in Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy