Personal health habits and symptoms of depression at the community level

Prev Med. 1988 Mar;17(2):173-82. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(88)90061-8.


This investigation examined the relationship between lifestyle, as defined by common health habits, and symptoms of depression in a general community sample. The study was conducted using data from a longitudinal survey involving four interviews of 1,003 Los Angeles County adults. The survey focused on the epidemiology of depression and help-seeking behavior, which included questions about seven health habits identified in the Alameda County Study as predictive of health status. The group used for this analysis comprised 752 adults who participated in and had usable depression scores (as measured with the 20-item CES-D scale) at all interviews. Depression prevalence rates were higher for six of the seven "poor" health habits examined compared with the "good" health habit. Prevalence odds ratios were greater than 2.0 for poor sleeping and drinking habits (both sexes) and equaled 1.8, among women only, for poor physical activity and smoking habits. Multivariate regression analyses showed a simple sum of the total number of good habits to be a significant independent predictor of depression after controlling for prior depression and various sociodemographic factors. The finding of an independent contribution of health habits to depression status emphasizes that lifestyle may influence mental as well as physical health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hygiene*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sampling Studies