Archives of Osteoporosis

, 9:173 | Cite as

Depressive symptoms are not associated with forearm bone accrual during adolescence

  • Sara Lourenço
  • Raquel Lucas
  • Daniele Ferreira da Silva
  • Elisabete Ramos
  • Henrique Barros
Original Article



Although depression has been associated to worst bone physical properties in adulthood, this study showed that depressive symptoms were not significantly associated to bone mineral density measured at the forearm during adolescence.


Depressive conditions have been related to the reduction of bone mineral density (BMD) in adulthood. Though it is possible to hypothesize that depressive symptoms present similar effects in bone mineral accrual during adolescence, such association is poorly researched. Therefore, we aimed to study the relation between depressive symptoms and forearm BMD during adolescence.


The study is based on the Epidemiological Health Investigation of Teenagers cohort that sampled adolescents born in 1990 and enrolled in public and private schools of Porto during the 2003/2004 academic year. At baseline (n = 2,160) and at 17 years of age (n = 1,716), depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). BMD (grams per square centimetre) was measured at the non-dominant forearm using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Sex-specific crude and adjusted linear regression coefficients (β) and the corresponding 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs) were calculated to estimate the cross-sectional and prospective associations between depressive symptoms and forearm BMD.


In both sexes, in early and late adolescence, depressive symptoms presented no statistically significant association with forearm BMD (β Girls13 = 0.09, 95 % CI = −0.43 to 0.61; β Girls17 = 0.10, 95 % CI = −0.43 to 0.64; β Boys13 = −0.10, 95 % CI = −0.96 to 0.76; β Boys17 = 0.49, 95 % CI = −0.96 to 1.93). Similarly, there were no significant associations between depressive symptoms and the annual forearm BMD change during adolescence in girls and boys (β Girls_BDI-II_13-17_remained_lowest = −0.85, 95 % CI = −4.62 to 2.92 vs. β Girls_BDI-II_13-17_remained_highest = −1.87, 95 % CI = −5.06 to 1.31; β Boys_BDI-II_13-17_remained_lowest = 0.48, 95 % CI = −5.30 to 6.26 vs. β Boys_BDI-II_13-17_remained_highest = 1.36, 95 % CI = −3.25 to 5.97).


Depressive symptoms, with the range of severity observed in the general adolescent population, were not associated with changes in forearm bone mineral density during adolescence. Further research based on measurements of different skeletal sites is needed in order to detect a systemic effect of depression on growing bone.


Depressive symptoms Bone mineral density Adolescence Population-based cohort 



This study was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, references FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-015750 and FCT PTDC/SAU-EPI/115254/2009). Sara Lourenço gratefully acknowledges a doctoral grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, reference SFRH/BD/77965/2011).

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Lourenço
    • 1
  • Raquel Lucas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniele Ferreira da Silva
    • 1
  • Elisabete Ramos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henrique Barros
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Public Health of the University of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Predictive Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of Porto Medical SchoolPortoPortugal

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