Weight and Appetite as Indicators of Depression

Abstract “The core symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode are the same for children and adolescents, although there are data that suggest that the prominence of characteristic symptoms may change with age. ” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) In the development of a child he or she may look as though there may be some weight problem due to depression. The child may go through spurts of weight gain and increased appetite. A parent may want to get their child checked out to see if he or she has depression, which they may have but the possible reality the child is normal.

In the same respect if a child starts to lose rapid weight loss or decrease in appetite than there is a reason to suspect there may be signs of depression. There are definite needs for more research to be done on the correlation of childhood weight gain or loss and depression. Some of the reason for this need is that there are many variables that play into the research that could not be done in a one-time research project. A more important reason for this is the growing problem today of childhood obesity and it being linked to possible mental disorders.

Introduction Cole et al (2012) developed a multidimensional item response theory model which had three outcomes. The first item they found was that the loss of weight and appetite gave great concern to symptoms of depression. They also found if a child had an episode of weight gain and appetite, they could not be diagnosed with depression. The variables of weight gain and depression are different based on age and gender. The Cognitive Theory could show how the children’s weight gain/loss and appetite gain/loss could lead to depression.

The children and/or the adolescents could be taught the behavior of using food to cope with their problems; by memory alone they knew what would help them feel better. As part of the cognitive theory, children could be making the decisions to eat poorly, they may have learned this from their parents, leading to weight gain and depression. This topic of childhood weight gain/loss and appetite gain/loss leading to depression is a relevant topic for me, since I suffered from depression and also eating problems growing up.

I know that there are some social factors that could also be a variable such as not being able to date and getting picked in sports games by other kids. Participants To narrow down the participants and also the studies for the current research project Cole et al (2012) used a five step process for inclusion. The first qualifier the participants had to be from the age of four years to eighteen years old. In the second phase, the data must have been received before they used any type of treatment or intervention.

For the third step, the collected data must have had candidates that were suffering from such screening items so that they could skip the depression questions. The fourth step was that for their age and gender there was not to be any missing data whatsoever, or they were not included. The fifth step was the samples that provided data had to offer a response that was able to stretch across all variables. Of the two thousand five hundred seventy six clients, two thousand three hundred and seven participants were included. Of the sample, fifty two percent were male and forty seven percent were female.

The mean age group was twelve years of age and the race was thirty percent African American, fifty eight Caucasian, three percent Hispanic and seven percent Other. Cole et al (2012) were granted approval from the institutional review board and the original researchers. Measures The measurements were based on the current studies in which Cole et al (2012) used the subjects most recent episode with depression. Cole et al (2012) used a diverse form of the KSADS-present and life time version. With this particular study, it provided example questions to ask the subject being interviewed.

Although the interviewer could change the questions to best suit him and the subject. They used this because if they used the DSM they would not be able to provide an objective study in the sense of what they wanted to accomplish. Also the DSM-IV was limited in the sense that it did not show all the indicators for a link between childhood depression and weight gain being a indicator. So the KSADS was scored on a three level process: the first, not present, the second, present at a subclinical and the third, present at a clinical level. Interrater reliabilties across studies ranged from 0. 71 to 0. 91 (median =0.82) (Cole et al, 2012) Procedures Cole et al (2012) used two previous studies to get the desired data set.

They used several factors to find a correlation between the study and also weight and depression. As mentioned in the participants section, Cole et al (2012) a qualification process to get the desired amount of participants. It does not seem as if there were a control group and an experimental group. Cole et al (2012) only used people that qualified for their criteria. No deception was used in this study. They asked permission from the previous researchers and also the institution that the previous studies were conducted.

Results There were two dimensions that could be seen in this study. In a study comparability there was an equal presence of dimensions used, but in this current study there were differences between all three age groups. In the gender levels there was not any differences found. In the age differential they split the groups into two groups-the first the reference group age < 12 years, and age _>12 years old. When they would compare the young boy and young girls there started to show a definite difference, as well as comparing older boys and older girls.

Cole et al (2012) then used a pairing comparison to see the differences in major depression disorder (MDD). With younger boys and girls, girls showed a 1. 26 times greater than that of boys. So it looks as if there is a correlation between the age and gender versus the opposite when looking at a major depression disorder. They did show in some of the graphs that there had been some correlation within depression and also weight/appetite Cole et al (2012). Discussion At the start of the study, the expectation was that weight gain/loss and appetite could be indicators of depression in adolescents in children and also adolescents.

The first multidimensional factor showed that weight gain could not be an effect on depression, but weight loss and appetite could be a depression indicator. Excluding the weight gain and appetite gain, they could not be used as an indicator for depression and it also did not have an effect on depression factors contributing to MDD. Cole et al (2012) did find that weight loss and appetite loss can be definite indicators of a MDD during the development periods of the child’s or adolescent’s life. Then there had been some different factors that had emerged as a result of this study.

Age and gender had a factor to general depression than did weight gain and appetite. There are other overwhelming factors that play into the diagnosing a child or adolescent for depression. The physiological and psychological factors that play into the development of a child growing up are hard to come up with a diagnosis of depression. Although with adults this is a very valid indicator of major depression disorder. Cole et al (2012) that if these findings would be taken into consideration it would make diagnosing MDD in children and adolescent’s a more effective process.

Furthermore it could also educate the parents and the school to know more about the symptoms of this disorder. Cole et al (2012) References Cole, D. A. , Cho, S. , Martin, N. C. , Youngstrom, E. A. , March, J. S. , Findling, R. L. , Compas, B. E. , Goodyer, I. M. , Rohde, P. , Weissman, M. , Essex, M. J. , Hyde, J. S. , Curry, J. F. , Forehand, R. , Slattery, M. J. , Felton, J. W. , Maxwell, M. A. (2012). Are Increased Weight and Appetite Useful Indicators of Depression in Children and Adolescents? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121 (4), 838-851.

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