Does reverse causality explain the relationship between diet and depression?

Jacka, Felice N., Cherbuin, Nicolas, Anstey, Kaarin J. and Butterworth, Peter 2015, Does reverse causality explain the relationship between diet and depression?, Journal of affective disorders, vol. 175, pp. 248-250, doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.01.007.

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Title Does reverse causality explain the relationship between diet and depression?
Author(s) Jacka, Felice N.ORCID iD for Jacka, Felice N.
Cherbuin, Nicolas
Anstey, Kaarin J.
Butterworth, Peter
Journal name Journal of affective disorders
Volume number 175
Start page 248
End page 250
Total pages 3
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2015-04-01
ISSN 1573-2517
Keyword(s) Causality
Science & Technology
Cross-Sectional Studies
Food Habits
Longitudinal Studies
Middle Aged
Prospective Studies
Summary BACKGROUND: Observational studies have repeatedly demonstrated relationships between habitual diet quality and depression. However, whilst reverse causality has not been the identified mechanism for these associations in prospective studies, the relationship between diet and depression is likely complex and bidirectional. Thus explicit investigation of the reverse causality hypothesis is warranted. METHODS: Data were drawn from the Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Study, a longitudinal community survey following three age cohorts from Australia. Analyses evaluated the relationships between past depression and treatment, current depressive symptoms and dietary patterns. RESULTS: Individuals with current depression had lower scores on a healthy dietary pattern; however, those who had been previously depressed and sought treatment had higher scores on the healthy dietary pattern at the later baseline assessment. Moreover, those who had reported prior, but not current, depression also had lower scores on the western dietary pattern than those without prior depression, regardless of whether they had been previously treated for their symptoms. LIMITATIONS: Self-report data and possible recall bias limit our conclusions. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, prior depression was associated with better quality diets at the later time point. Thus, while current depression is associated with poorer dietary habits, a history of depression may prompt healthier dietary behaviours in the long term. Given the demonstrated relationships between diet quality and depressive illness, clinicians should advocate dietary improvement for their patients with depression and should not be pessimistic about the likelihood of adherence to such recommendations.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.jad.2015.01.007
Field of Research 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920410 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Elsevier
Persistent URL

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Medicine
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