The pervasive effect of youth self-report of hunger on depression over 6 years of follow up
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We used longitudinal data to clarify the association between self-report of hunger and subsequent depression risk among youth and young adults, accounting for other risk factors.
Youth self-report of ever experiencing hunger data were collected from cycles 4–6 of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth cohort of Canadian youth 16 years and older (n = 4139). Data on depressive symptoms (CES-D 12) were collected over three cycles (2004–2009, cycles 6–8). We used multivariable regression based on generalized estimating equations (GEE) to examine prior youth hunger on later depression risk, adjusting for time-stable, time-varying, and lagged variables (e.g., depressive symptoms in previous cycle), thereby clarifying the temporal relationship.
The prevalence of youth hunger experience and depression risk reached 5.9 and 15.0%, respectively. The adjusted odds ratio of depression for participants reporting hunger was 2.31 (95% CI 1.54, 3.46) and changed little [2.17 (95% CI 1.29, 3.67)] after accounting for previous CES-D 12 scores, suggesting a temporal relationship in which hunger contributes to depression risk. Unlike never-hungry youth, depression in ever-hungry youth remained comparatively elevated over time.
Our models support an independent and temporal relationship between youth self-report of hunger and depression in adolescence and young adulthood.
KeywordsHunger Depression Youth Longitudinal Generalized estimating equation (GEE)
This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grants SEC-117126 and ROH-115208. We thank Genevieve Jessiman-Perreault for analytic assistance.
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