Joanne Tyler


This study examined relations between child depression and eating behavior and weight problems, including the role ofbaseline cortisol and cortisol reactivity in these relations. Data were drawn from a larger study, and included 50 children between the ages of6 and 12. Children reported on their depressive symptoms, and children and parents reported on child engagement in external eating, under-eating, over-eating, parental pressure to eat, enjoyment of food, and food and satiety responsiveness. For children exhibiting hypercortisolism, depression was associated with decreased over-eating and food responsiveness. Hypercortisolism was especially important for girls and children later in pubertal development. The reduced appetite and food consumption associated with hypercortisolism and depression may be a manifestation of anhedonic symptoms in childhood.