Reciprocal Relations between Adolescent Depressive Symptoms and Binge Eating
Sinclair-McBride, Keneisha Rachelle
Evidence suggests that overeating, LOC, and binge eating are all prospectively associated with depressive symptoms. Theory and research indicate that these relations are likely bidirectional. In addition, theory and correlational research suggests that LOC may predict depressive symptoms over and above overeating. Finally, studies have not examined potential moderators of these relations, including sex and BMI. This study (1) examines the bidirectional relations between depressive symptoms and the three eating behaviors, (2) tests the incremental predictive utility of LOC for depressive symptoms over and above overeating, and (3) examines sex and BMI as potential moderators of these relations. Participants were 353 adolescents in grades 9-12 at Time 1 and 320 at Time 2, all from high schools in middle Tennessee. Participants answered self-report questionnaires measuring eating behavior, depressive symptoms, height, and weight. This procedure was repeated four months later at Time 2. Five key findings emerged. First, depressive symptoms were significant predictors of later binge eating, loss of control eating, and overeating behaviors. Second, sex and BMI were not clinically significant moderators of the relations of depressive symptoms to later eating behaviors. Third, binge eating and overeating were significant predictors of later depressive symptoms. Fourth, sex and BMI were not significant moderators of the relations between binge eating, LOC, and overeating to later depressive symptoms. Fifth, results do not provide evidence for the predictive utility of LOC over and above overeating. Clinical implications and areas for future research are discussed.