Association between health behaviours and depression: Findings from a national cross-sectional study in South Korea

Bich Na Jang, Hyeon Ji Lee, Jae Hong Joo, Eun Cheol Park, Sung In Jang

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depression is a leading cause of disability, and it has been reported that more than 264 million people worldwide have depression. The causes of depression may be numerous, and physical health has also been linked to depression. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of health behaviours on depression. Methods: This study used the data of 224,868 participants from the Community Health Survey, conducted in 2017. We defined health behaviours by combining three variables: no smoking, not belonging to high-risk drinking group, and walking frequently. Depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between health behaviours and depression. Results: Both men and women who did not practise health behaviours were more likely to experience depressive symptoms than those who did (men, odds ratio (OR): 1.48, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.31-1.68; women, OR: 1.42, 95% CI: 1.32-1.53). Not walking frequently had the strongest association with depression in men and the risk of depression was the highest in women who smoked. Participants who did not practise any health behaviours were the most likely to have depressive symptoms (men, OR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1.38-2.07; women, OR: 3.08, 95% CI: 2.27-4.19). Conclusion: Our study found that lack of health behaviours is significantly associated with depression. Furthermore, the most influential factor of health behaviours in depression was different for men and women. It is necessary to manage depression through interventional methods customised to gender characteristics. Additionally, national-level policies are needed to encourage steps to improve personal lifestyles, including practising health behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Article number238
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 14

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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