Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
University of Vermont College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology & Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont Department of Psychiatry
Type of Thesis
College of Arts and Science Honors, Honors College
Dr. Robert Althoff
Dr. Alicia Ebert
Dr. Donna Toufexis & Dr. Bryan Ballif
metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety, children and adults, obesity, psychiatry
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of five factors (elevated systolic blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, elevated triglycerides, large waist circumference, and decreased HDL) that are related to a greater chance of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. There is evidence that metabolic syndrome is correlated with depression, but the directionality and mechanism is unclear. There is also dispute in the literature as to whether there is a correlation with anxiety and metabolic syndrome. In this study, levels of depression and anxiety determined from questionnaires and interviews (Adult Self Report, Child Behavior Checklist, Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime, and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview) were compared with the five factors of metabolic syndrome in 100 three-person families. In children and adolescents, elevated triglycerides were predictive of elevated depressive behavior above the age of 12.68 (pppp < .05 respectively). Additionally, a lower SES, older age, greater anxious behavior, and being male were all predictive of greater overall metabolic risk. Results implicate an age-moderated difference in how metabolic factors affect depression in children, possibly having a mechanism coinciding or affected by puberty. In adults, the directionality seems to reverse, with the anxious behavior having an effect on the metabolic syndrome factor, possibly related to stress and inflammation. Further research is needed to study these mechanisms and elucidate the connections between the disorders.
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Michael, Jennifer R., "The relations of metabolic syndrome to anxiety and depression symptoms in children and adults" (2017). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 160.