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J Psychosom Res. 1987;31(4):429-40.

Dieting and depression: a critical review.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104.


Investigations of affective changes during weight reduction have produced sharply conflicting results. Studies conducted through the 1950s and 1960s indicated that weight reduction was accompanied by a high incidence of affective disturbance ranging from simple dysphoria to clinical depression and psychosis. More recently, studies of behavioral programs have suggested that weight reduction may actually improve mood. A critical and systematic review of the literature revealed that the conflicting evidence is best explained by differences in mood assessment. The method of mood assessment consistently predicted the affective changes observed in previous reports. Other variables previously thought to influence affective response to weight reduction, including duration of treatment and weight loss, did not independently predict outcome.

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