Depressive symptoms, health promotion, and health risk behaviors

Am J Health Promot. Sep-Oct 2000;15(1):29-34. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-15.1.29.


Objectives: To assess the relationships between history of depressive symptoms and smoking, alcohol consumption, dietary changes, attempts to lose weight or increase exercise, use of health services, and the likelihood of receiving influenza and pneumonia vaccinations, mammograms, and Pap tests.

Methods: A survey of randomly sampled members of a large health maintenance organization (n = 5841).

Results: Individuals with past depressive symptoms were more likely to smoke cigarettes (despite making more attempts to quit smoking); to drink more alcohol; to attempt to lose weight, increase exercise, reduce fat intake, increase fiber intake; and, for women, to have a mammogram.

Conclusions: Individuals with histories of depressive symptoms engage in more positive and negative health behaviors. Additionally, their increased service use provides opportunities to achieve positive health changes and improve treatment outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Depression* / psychology
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Smoking