Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men

Joseph R. Hibbeln*, Kate Northstone, Jonathan Evans, Jean Golding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Vegetarian diets are associate with cardiovascular and other health benefits, but little is known about mental health benefits or risks. Aims To determine whether self-identification of vegetarian dietary habits is associated with significant depressive symptoms in men. Method Self-report data from 9668 adult male partners of pregnant women in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) included identification as vegetarian or vegan, dietary frequency data and the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale (EPDS). Continuous and binary outcomes were assessed using multiple linear and logistic regression taking account of potential confounding variables including: age, marital status, employment status, housing tenure, number of children in the household, religion, family history of depression previous childhood psychiatric contact, cigarette and alcohol consumption. Results Vegetarians [n = 350 (3.6% of sample)], had higher depression scores on average than non-vegetarians (mean difference 0.96 points [95%CI + 0.53, + 1.40]) and a greater risk for EPDS scores above 10 (adjusted OR = 1.67 [95% CI: 1.14,2.44]) than non-vegetarians after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Conclusions Vegetarian men have more depressive symptoms after adjustment for socio-demographic factors. Nutritional deficiencies (e.g. in cobalamin or iron) are a possible explanation for these findings, however reverse causation cannot be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume225
Early online date28 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Cobalamin
  • Depression
  • Fathers
  • Nutritional psychiatry
  • Vegetarian

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