Depressed mood and dietary fish intake: direct relationship or indirect relationship as a result of diet and lifestyle?

J Affect Disord. 2007 Dec;104(1-3):217-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.03.012. Epub 2007 May 1.


Previous studies have suggested an association between depressed mood and the dietary intake of fish. In all cases, however, dietary fish intake has been considered at the exclusion of all other aspects of the diet. This analysis investigates associations between depressed mood and dietary fish intake, while also concurrently investigating intake of a number of other dietary components. The analysis is conducted on data from 10,602 men from Northern Ireland and France screened for inclusion into the PRIME cohort study. Depressed mood was assessed using a self-report questionnaire based on the Welsh Pure Depression sub-scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, diet was assessed using a Food Frequency Questionnaire, and limited demographics were also measured. Using regression, depressed mood is initially inversely associated with dietary fish intake. On inclusion of all other dietary variables, the strength of this relationship reduces but remains, and significant associations with a number of other foods are also found. On additional inclusion of all demographic variables, the strength of the above relationships again reduces, and associations with various measures of socio-economic status and education are also significant. These findings suggest that depressed mood is associated with fish intake both directly, and indirectly as part of a diet that is associated with depression and as part of a lifestyle that is associated with depression. Additional support for these conclusions is also provided in the pattern of associations between depressed mood and diet in the two countries. The relative contributions of fish intake to depressed mood both directly and indirectly are yet to be determined. However, while diet is not measured and until lifestyle can be adequately measured, the potential roles of diet and lifestyle in the association between depressed mood and dietary fish intake should not be ignored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fish Products / statistics & numerical data*
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Northern Ireland / epidemiology
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires