This study was designed to test the extent to which depressive symptoms are associated with the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MS) and each of its components, and whether these relationships are gender dependent. Participants were apparently healthy employed men (N = 2,355) and women (N = 1,525) who underwent a routine health check between the years 2003 and 2005. We used logistic regression analysis, predicting the MS by depressive symptoms, as assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire, and the following control variables: age, education, smoking status, physical exercise, anxiety, and burnout. As hypothesized, we found that depression among women, but not men, was associated with a 1.94-fold risk of having the MS, and with an elevated risk of having two of its five components: elevated waist circumference (odds ratio, OR = 2.23) and elevated glucose levels (OR = 2.44). In addition, a positive trend was observed toward an association with the other three components: low high-density lipoprotein, hypertension, and elevated triglycerides. Among men depression was associated with elevated waist circumference only (OR = 1.77). These findings suggest that especially among women, the association between depression and cardiovascular diseases might be linked to metabolic processes. If replicated in longitudinal studies, these findings may have important health-care policy implications with regard to depression management interventions.
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Metabolic syndrome