The relation of depression, health related quality of life, and parenting stress in overweight and obese children

Rainey, Josh Craig
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Obesity can have far reaching negative effects on a child or adolescent's health and quality of life. Child and adolescent obesity has a strong correlation with health-related quality of life (HRQOL), an indicator of an individual's total wellbeing, including physical, emotional, and social aspects of that individual's life. HRQOL can be negatively affected by obesity across several domains, including physical comfort, body esteem, social life, family relations, emotional well-being, and general quality of life (Nadeau et al., 2011; Herzer et al., 2011; Modi et al., 2008). Another area of concern for this population is that parental stress is much higher in parents with children and adolescents who are overweight or obese (Chiou & Hsieh, 2008; Streisand et al., 2003). This relationship is shown to compromise children's psychological well-being and hinder treatment (Cushner-Weinstein et al., 2008; Mullins et al., 2007; Ohleyer et al., 2007). The purpose of the current study was to expand previous research by examining the relations between depression, HRQOL, and parental stress. The study also explored how gender and BMI affect the relationship between depression and HRQOL. Participants included children 5-13 years of age and their parents living in the Central Texas area. The children were identified by their pediatrician as being overweight or obese. Results for the main analyses provided several significant findings. First, results demonstrated that the relation between depressive symptoms and child reported HRQOL was significant. Specifically, depressive domains of interpersonal problems, anhedonia, and negative self-esteem were all significant and negatively related to the child's report of HRQOL. Likewise, the HRQOL domains of physicality, teasing/marginalization, and social avoidance were both significantly and negatively related to depressive symptoms. There was no significant relation between depression and parent's perception of HRQOL or any of their specific domains. Furthermore, the results indicate that there were no significant gender differences and that higher BMI was not associated with an increased relation between child reported HRQOL and depressive symptoms. Finally, parental stress was significantly and negatively related to child and parent reported HRQOL. Implications, limitations, and areas of future research are discussed.