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Associations between diet quality and DSM‑IV mood disorders during young‑ to mid‑adulthood among an Australian cohort

Purpose: Many studies have reported associations between diet and depression, but few have used formal diagnoses of mood disorder as the outcome measure. We examined if overall diet quality was associated cross-sectionally or longitudinally with DSM-IV mood disorders among an adult cohort.

Methods: Participants from the Australian Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study were followed up during 2004-06 (n = 1974, age 26-36 years), 2009-11 (n = 1480, 31-41 years), and 2014-19 (n = 1191, 36-49 years). Dietary Guidelines Index (DGI) scores were calculated from food frequency questionnaires at each time-point (higher DGI reflects better diet quality). DSM-IV mood disorders (dysthymia or depression) during the periods between, and 12 months prior to each follow-up were determined using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Sex-stratified risk and prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using log-binomial regression. Covariates included age, self-perceived social support index score, marital status, parenting status, education, occupation, physical activity, BMI, and usual sleep duration.

Results: A 10-point higher DGI was cross-sectionally associated with lower prevalence of mood disorders at the third follow-up only (females PR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.56, 0.95; males PR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.53, 0.97), but was attenuated after covariate adjustment (females PR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.73, 1.16; males PR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.69, 1.22). Adjustment for social support in the final model had attenuated the association for both sexes from 18% reduced prevalence to 8%. DGI scores were not longitudinally associated with mood disorder risk.

Conclusions: Crude cross-sectional associations between diet quality and mood disorders at ages 36-49 years were explained by sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, particularly social support.


National Health & Medical Research Council


Publication title

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology




Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Dr Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag

Place of publication

Po Box 10 04 62, Darmstadt, Germany, D-64204

Rights statement

Copyright 2021 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Prevention of human diseases and conditions; Mental health

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