Objectives: This study investigated whether commensality (eating a meal with others) is associated with mental health (depression, suicidal ideation) in Korean adults over 19 years old. Methods: Our study employed data from the sixth and seventh Korea National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys (KNHANES) for 2013, 2015, and 2017. The study population consisted of 14,125 Korean adults (5854 men and 8271 women). In this cross-sectional study, data were analyzed with the Rao-Scott chi-square test and multiple logistic regression to evaluate the association between commensality(0[includes skipping meals] to 3 times eating meals together) and both depression and suicidal ideation using select questions from the Mental Health Survey. By setting socioeconomic factors, health conditions, and behavioral factors as confounders, we conducted a subgroup analysis to reveal the effect on depression and suicidal ideation commensality. Results: Commensality was significantly associated with depression and suicidal ideation (p < 0.05). In both sexes, people who ate fewer meals together had poorer mental health. In a subgroup analysis, we revealed greater odds of developing depression in men when living in rural areas and belonging to low-income groups. In contrast, greater odds of suicidal ideation in men who ate alone when living in the city and belonging to high-income groups. On the other hand, Women in every region had greater odds of being depressed if they ate alone. And greater odds of suicidal ideation in women who ate alone when living in the city and belonging to medium-high income groups. Conclusions: Our analysis confirmed that Korean adults with lower chance of commensality had greater risk of developing depression and suicidal ideation. And it could be affected by individuals’ various backgrounds including socioeconomic status. As a result, to help people with depression and prevent a suicidal attempt, this study will be baseline research for social workers, educators and also policy developers to be aware of the importance of eating together.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics