Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Medicine


Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality, and is associated with impaired functioning and a poorer quality of life. It is increasingly recognised that individuals with MDD are at greater risk of chronic health conditions such as obesity and cardiometabolic disease, however the pathways linking MDD to chronic disease risk factors are not well understood. An integrated biopsychosocial approach may improve the understanding of the links between MDD and chronic health conditions, potentially leading to more effective treatments. Changes in appetite and weight are symptoms of MDD and may be a pathway between MDD and chronic disease risk factors. Indeed, problematic eating behaviours, such as emotional eating and food addiction, have been linked to depressogenic weight gain. Further, hormones implicated in food intake and eating behaviours such as the satiety hormone leptin, hunger hormone ghrelin, energy balance hormone serotonin and sympathetic stress response hormone dopamine may be dysregulated in MDD. However, the nature of problematic eating behaviours, and whether peripheral hormones are directly related to problematic eating and health indices, has not been systematically studied in MDD. Therefore, this thesis examined relationships between problematic eating behaviours, peripheral hormones, health indices such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, and symptom profiles in MDD to elucidate possible pathways between MDD and chronic health conditions.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.