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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Psychiatry 1/2018

Associations between degree and sub-dimensions of depression and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in the community: results from the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS)

BMC Psychiatry > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jörg Wiltink, Matthias Michal, Claus Jünger, Thomas Münzel, Philipp S. Wild, Karl J. Lackner, Maria Blettner, Norbert Pfeiffer, Elmar Brähler, Manfred E. Beutel



A growing number of studies have associated metabolic syndrome (MetS) and depression, both retrospectively and prospectively. However, it has remained unclear, which degrees, or sub-dimensions of depression are related to MetS and if comorbid depression affects health care utilization. The purpose of the study was to determine the associations of a) somatic and cognitive-affective symptoms to MetS and b) depression and MetS to health care utilization.


In a population-based, representative survey of 14.499 participants we studied the associations of the two dimensions of depression with MetS and health care utilization. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).


MetS and its components were associated with the degree of depression, particularly with moderately severe/ severe depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 > = 15). There were clear positive associations of somatic-affective depressive symptoms with the presence of MetS and its components. Cognitive-affective symptoms were negatively associated with MetS. At the single item level, disorders of sleep and appetite as well as exhaustion were positively, while trouble concentrating was negatively associated with MetS. Symptoms of depression were related to higher consultations of somatic and mental health care, while the presence of MetS was related to somatic health care utilization. There was an additional interaction of depressive symptoms and MetS with mental health care.


Somatic affective symptoms of depression are positively associated, while cognitive-affective symptoms are negatively associated with MetS.
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