A comparative study of depression in overweight dieters, overweight non-dieters and non-overweight females

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Ryan, Eileen
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the study was to test whether there is a relationship between dieting and depression for overweight females, but also to compare these results with non-overweight groups. A cross-sectional mixed design was used with 97 female part-time psychology students who were given psychological questionnaires to measure levels of depression, satisfaction with life, and body-relating worrying. The results found that overall there was no significant difference in depression scores between dieting and non-dieting participants. However, when the overweight group was analysed, a significant difference was found between overweight dieters and non-dieters, with the overweight dieters having lower depression scores. Furthermore, a strong positive correlation was found between the amount of weight to lose and depression score for these overweight dieters. Interesting trends were seen when the data was analysed by age-ranges. However, larger sample studies, including obese groups, would be required to give a clearer picture of the differences. Overall, the study raises the possibility that dieting does not negatively affect depression in overweight individuals.