Anxiety, Family Functioning and Neuroendocrine Biomarkers in Obese Children

Authors

  • Inês Pinto Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hospital Beatriz Ângelo. Loures. Portugal. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hospital Dona Estefânia. Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Lisboa. Portugal. Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Faculty of Medicine. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal.
  • Simon Wilkinson Department of Research and Development. Division of Mental Health. Akershus University Hospital. Lørenskog. Norway.
  • Daniel Virella Epidemiology and Statistics Office of the Research Unit. Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Lisboa. Portugal.
  • Marta Alves Epidemiology and Statistics Office of the Research Unit. Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Lisboa. Portugal.
  • Conceição Calhau Nutrition and Metabolism Department. NOVA Medical School. Lisboa. Portugal. Center for Research in Health Technologies and Information Systems. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal.
  • Rui Coelho Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health. Faculty of Medicine. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal. Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S). University of Porto. Porto. Portugal.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.7919

Keywords:

Anxiety, Biomarkers, Child, Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System, Pediatric Obesity, Pituitary-Adrenal System, Stress Psychological

Abstract

Introduction: This observational study explores potential links between obese children’s cortisol, and parental mental state, family functioning, and the children’s symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Material and Methods: A non-random sample of 104 obese children (55 boys), mean age 10.9 years (standard deviation 1.76), was recruited from a childhood obesity clinic. Obesity was defined as body mass index above the 95th age- and gender-specific percentiles. Neuroendocrine biomarkers were measured. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed with self and parent-reported questionnaires (Anxiety, Depression and Stress Scales; Child Behaviour Checklist). Family functioning was assessed with parent-reported questionnaires (Family Adaptation and Cohesion Scales-III).
Results: A significant, negative correlation (rs = -0.779; p = 0.003) between girls’ cortisol and their parents’ anxiety symptoms was found, limited to high functioning families. Boys scored significantly higher than girls on parent-reported internalizing symptoms but not on self-report. No association was found between cortisol in children and parental depressive symptoms.
Discussion: Whether the association between cortisol levels in obese children and parental mental health is effectively restricted to girls from high functioning families or is due to study limitations, requires further research. The lack of associations between cortisol in children and parental depressive symptoms, suggests a specific association between cortisol and parental anxiety symptoms.
Conclusion: These results highlight the importance of taking into account family functioning, parental mental state and gender, when investigating neuroendocrine biomarkers in obese children associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Inês Pinto, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hospital Beatriz Ângelo. Loures. Portugal. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hospital Dona Estefânia. Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Lisboa. Portugal. Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Faculty of Medicine. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal.

C.P.: 47439

Downloads

Published

2017-04-28

How to Cite

1.
Pinto I, Wilkinson S, Virella D, Alves M, Calhau C, Coelho R. Anxiety, Family Functioning and Neuroendocrine Biomarkers in Obese Children. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2017 Apr. 28 [cited 2023 Jan. 31];30(4):273-80. Available from: https://actamedicaportuguesa.com/revista/index.php/amp/article/view/7919

Issue

Section

Original