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Korean J Fam Med. 2013 May;34(3):206-12. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.2013.34.3.206. Epub 2013 May 24.

Relationship between Family Meals and Depressive Symptoms in Children.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.



Recently, importance of family meals has been emphasized at home and abroad, and several journals reported that family meals had a big impact on children's development. In this paper, we would like to report the relationship between family meals and depressive symptoms in children.


This study was based on questionnaires distributed to 162 5th and 6th graders of one elementary school in the area of Daegu, Korea, in July, 2010. The questionnaire was about general characteristics, family characteristics, and quantity/quality of family meals. Family functions and depressive symptoms in children were evaluated with Smilkstein's family APGAR (adaptability, partnership, growth, affection, and resolve) score (FAS) and Kovac's Children's Depression Inventory (CDI).


In one-way analyses of variance, there was no significant difference in FAS and CDI according to general and family characteristics (P > 0.05). CDI was significantly lower in the group having more frequent family meals (P < 0.05). Higher FAS and lower CDI was seen in the group having more conversation and better atmosphere during meals (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in FAS and CDI according to the number of participants, duration, and watching television during meals (P > 0.05).


The frequency of family meals, having more conversation and better atmosphere during family meals predicted less depressive symptoms in children.


Child; Depression; Family Function; Family Meals

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