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The impact of metabolic syndrome on mental health-related quality of life and depressive symptoms

Quality of Life Research
Victoria M. Limon, Miryoung Lee, Brandon Gonzalez, Audrey C. Choh, Stefan A. Czerwinski
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Results examining associations between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and depression, as well as on quality of life (QoL), are inconsistent. We aimed to determine whether individuals with MetS had decreased mental health-related QoL (MH-QoL) and higher frequency of depressive symptoms.


Data from 1,015 participants from the Fels Longitudinal Study were analyzed (mean age ± SD: 49.6 ± 18.7 years, 29.3% MetS, 51% females). MetS was determined using American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute criteria. Depressive symptoms (yes vs. no) were assessed with The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). MH-QoL (low (≤ 42) vs. high) was assessed with The Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36). Sex- and age-stratified mixed effects logistic regressions were used to examine the longitudinal relationship between MetS and MH-QoL while adjusting for covariates such as age, smoking status, and drinking status.


In cross-sectional analysis, MetS was significantly associated with elevated depressive symptoms in women (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.22–3.78, p < 0.01), but not in men. In the longitudinal analysis, MetS was observed to have a protective effect among men in the older age group as it approached significance (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.11–1.05, p = 0.06).


MetS was adversely associated with depressive symptoms and poor MH-QoL. Our cross-sectional results suggest that depressive symptoms are higher among women with MetS. Interestingly, our longitudinal results suggest that MH-QoL in men with MetS may improve with age.

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