Subjective depressive symptoms and metabolic syndrome among the general population

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 3;54:223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.06.006. Epub 2014 Jun 27.


Objective: The evidence of the association between depression and metabolic syndrome is increasing, but the existence of sex differences in this association remains controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between subjective depressive symptoms and metabolic syndrome and each of its components by sex in the Korean population.

Methods: The study sample comprised 15,073 men and 15,034 women who underwent routine health examinations. They completed the Beck Depression Inventory for depressive symptoms, and medical examinations provided data regarding metabolic syndrome. Adjustments for age, marriage, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, exercise, education, cancer, stroke, angina, and thyroid disease were performed. The association between depressive symptoms and metabolic syndrome and each of its components was analyzed by multiple logistic regression.

Results: In women, depressive symptoms were associated with metabolic syndrome (OR=1.35, 95% CI=1.11-1.64, p=0.002) and the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol component (OR=1.26, 95% CI=1.09-1.46, p=0.002) of metabolic syndrome. There was also an association between the severity of depressive symptoms and metabolic syndrome in women (OR=1.046, 95% CI=1.002-1.091, p=0.039). In men, depressive symptoms were inversely associated with the hypertension component of metabolic syndrome (OR=0.73, 95% CI=0.58-0.91, p=0.005).

Conclusions: Subjective depressive symptoms were associated with metabolic syndrome only in women. Further research should consider sex differences and dyslipidemia.

Keywords: Depression; Depressive symptoms; Gender; Lipid; Metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Linear Models
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Young Adult


  • Lipoproteins, HDL