Risk and protective factors associated with depressive symptoms in young adults with overweight and obesity Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: Approximately one-third of college students are categorized as overweight/obese and elevated weight has been associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms. Less is known about protective factors in this context. This study examined associations between depressive symptoms and health behaviors, as well as body image variables among college students with overweight/obesity, while accounting for contributions of BMI and demographics. Participants: College students (N = 175; Mage = 19.87, SD = 1.93; 70% female; 58% Non-Hispanic Black) with overweight/obesity completed in-person surveys. Methods: Depressive symptoms, exercise and diet engagement, body positivity, and body dissatisfaction were assessed. Data were examined using a hierarchical linear regression. Results: Greater exercise engagement and greater body positivity were significantly associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Established links between elevated weight and depression are complex but imperative to understand, as mutable factors that contribute to this relationship may provide novel avenues for intervening.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kaufman, C. C., Thurston, I. B., Maclin-Akinyemi, C., Hardin, R. N., Decker, K. M., & Kamody, R. C.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • December 2018