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Title page for ETD etd-04202007-094157

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Felton, Julia Widney
Author's Email Address julia.w.felton@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04202007-094157
Title Examination of Weight Change as a Symptom of Depression in Children and Adolescents
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David A. Cole Committee Chair
Judy Garber Committee Member
  • Depression in adolescence
  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Body weight -- Psychological aspects
Date of Defense 2007-04-02
Availability unrestricted
Weight change is one of nine key symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder in adolescents, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Several studies, however, examining the symptomology of depression in this age group have found mixed support for weight change as at true symptom of the disorder. Furthermore, researchers have used a variety of methods to measure weight change, including self-report, parental-report, and direct observation. This study looks at the relation of three variables to depression: actual weight change, self-reported weight change, and body dissatisfaction. Two waves of data were collected from middle and high school students. Results suggest that neither actual nor self-reported weight change are associated with change in depressive affect. Only body dissatisfaction was found to predict prospective change in depressed mood. Suggestions for furthering the understanding of the complex relation between weight change and depressive disorder are outlined.
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