Relationship Between Vegetarianism and Depression

Recently, researchers have shown great interest in the study of vegetarianism in relation to health factors. The most overt aim of such studies is to establish whether there is any connection between vegetarianism and depression. In order to reveal such a connection, this study reviews two articles by different authors in order to examine how they have discussed this topic. The articles chosen are Depressive Symptoms and Vegetarian Diets: Results from the Constances Cohort by Matta et al. (2018) and Vegetarian Diet and Mental Disorders: Results from a Representative Community Survey by Michalak et al. (2012).

Matta, J., Czernichow, S., Kesse-Guyot, E., Hoertel, N., Limosin, F., Goldberg, M., Zins, M., & Lemogne, C. (2018). Depressive symptoms and vegetarian diets: Results from the constances cohort. Nutrients, 10(11), 1695. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111695

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The objective of this article is to investigate the relationship between vegetarianism and mental disorders. Cohort study is the dominant study design employed in this article. The authors selected the cohort for study since the year 2012. The target population was 20,000. Stratified random sampling was also used in this study, but in this case, units were formed based on age, occupation, gender, residential places, and economical status. Recruitment method depended entirely on the volunteering of participants. In this study, inclusive and exclusive criteria were used based on the participants’ age and medical insurance cover. Those who were between 18 and 29 years of age were included, whereas other people were excluded. Concerning the insurance cover, the study included participants who were covered and excluded those uncovered by the insurance.

The multivariate finding was applicable in this study, with vegetarian and omnivorous being independent variables, and the prevalence of depression being a dependent variable. In this case, the result showed that depression was diagnosed in 28.4% of the vegetarians and 16.2% of the omnivorous individuals, this being a clear indication that depression in vegetarians is higher than in omnivorous. The major cofounders in this study were the participants who had more chronic conditions; hence, they were excluded. After this exclusion, the results remained the same. Basing on these results, it was concluded that depression among vegetarian was prevalent compared to non-vegetarians. This conclusion was not in accordance with the researchers’ initial hypothesis, since depression was also noted in the groups that fed on meat products. These results were general since the outcome was similar among the pesco-vegetarians, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and vegans.

Michalak, J., Zhang, C., & Jacobiet, F (2012). Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: Results from a representative community survey. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9, 67. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-9-67

The objective of this study was to examine the cross-sectional relationship between depression and vegetarian diets. In this article, cross-sectional study design was used to examine the prevalence of depression due to vegetarianism. In this case, 4,181 participants were selected randomly and subjected to GHS interviews. Participants were selected across the nation with an objective of comparing the results from a different region of the country. Stratified random sampling was used, whereby sample from 113 communities was organized into 130 units. Both inclusive and exclusive criteria were used, whereby participants aged between 18 and 79 years were included, while those outside this age bracket were excluded.

The study produced a multivariate result in which vegetarians and non-vegetarians became an independent variable, while mental depression was a dependent variable. In this case, the result indicated that the prevalence of mental disorders was 15% higher in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians. The confounding variable was attributed to factors such as education, age, and gender, which primarily associated with depression. The result obtained also showed that the prevalence of depression was higher among vegetarians than non-vegetarians.

Finally, the study concluded that depression is prevalent among the vegetarian population rather than in non-vegetarians. However, this result was specific rather than general, since women showed a higher percentage of depression than men did. The conclusion was, therefore, in congruence with the initial hypothesis.

Comparison

Both articles reveal similar results that depression is prevalent among vegetarians. However, the study by Matta et al. (2018) seems to have superior methodology, as it incorporated clinical examination through physical tests and laboratory examination, which might have provided more accurate results than oral interviews. I trust the results of this study because, despite the use of a superior methodology, it offered a more recent study that had been organized between 2012 and 2018. To design this study, I will ensure I select tools that will assist in the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. In this case, I will use laboratory test, interviews, and observation to obtain more accurate data.

 

References

Matta, J., Czernichow, S., Kesse-Guyot, E., Hoertel, N., Limosin, F., Goldberg, M., Zins, M., & Lemogne, C. (2018). Depressive symptoms and vegetarian diets: Results from the constances cohort. Nutrients, 10(11), 1695. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111695

Michalak, J., Zhang, C., & Jacobiet, F (2012). Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: Results from a representative community survey. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9, 67. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-9-67