Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 143–152 | Cite as

Depressive symptoms and serum lipid levels in young adult women

  • Carolyn Y. Fang
  • Brian L. Egleston
  • Kelley Pettee Gabriel
  • Victor J. Stevens
  • Peter O. KwiterovichJr.
  • Linda G. Snetselaar
  • Margaret L. Longacre
  • Joanne F. Dorgan


Accumulating data suggest that depression is associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but few studies have investigated potential behavioral mediators of such associations, particularly among women. In this study of healthy young adult women (n = 225), we examined associations among depressive symptoms, health behaviors, and serum lipid levels. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale, and a fasting blood sample was obtained for serum lipid levels, including total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C). Diet was measured using 24-h recalls, and other health behaviors (physical activity, smoking) were assessed via self-report questionnaire. Results indicated a modest negative association between depressive symptoms and LDL-C levels. Higher levels of depressive symptoms were also associated with lower total and insoluble dietary fiber intake, both of which were associated with HDL-C and LDL-C. Mediational analyses indicated a significant indirect effect of depressive symptoms on LDL-C via total and insoluble dietary fiber in unadjusted analyses, but not in adjusted analyses. The present findings suggest that depressive symptoms are inversely associated with serum LDL-C levels in young adult women, but that these associations are not likely mediated by adverse lifestyle behaviors.


Depression Cholesterol Health behaviors Diet 



This work was supported by grants P30CA006927 and R01CA104670 from the National Institutes of Health. We thank Dr. Bruce Barton and the Maryland Medical Research Institute for overseeing data management for this study and Dr. John Himes for his assistance with the dietary data variables. We would also like to thank the DISC06 participants for their continuing participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Y. Fang
    • 1
  • Brian L. Egleston
    • 2
  • Kelley Pettee Gabriel
    • 3
  • Victor J. Stevens
    • 4
  • Peter O. KwiterovichJr.
    • 5
  • Linda G. Snetselaar
    • 6
  • Margaret L. Longacre
    • 1
  • Joanne F. Dorgan
    • 7
  1. 1.Cancer Prevention and Control ProgramFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics and BioinformaticsFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, University of Texas Administration Building (UTA)The University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonAustinUSA
  4. 4.Kaiser Permanente Center for Health ResearchPortlandUSA
  5. 5.Lipid Research/Atherosclerosis Unit, Departments of Pediatrics and MedicineJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.Department of Epidemiology, College of Public HealthUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  7. 7.Women’s Cancer ProgramFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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