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Impact of Adolescent Personality Disorders on Obesity 17 Years Later

Chen, Lu PhD; Huang, Yangxin PhD; Kasen, Stephanie PhD; Skodol, Andrew MD; Cohen, Patricia PhD; Chen, Henian MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000228
Original Articles

Objectives To investigate associations between adolescent personality disorder (PD) and obesity 17 years later.

Methods The Children in the Community is a longitudinal study based on a randomly sampled cohort of families, in effect since 1975. PDs were assessed in youths by self-report and mother report in 1985 to 1986, when participants were at an average age of 16 years. Obesity was assessed in 2001 to 2004 when participants were an average age of 33 years (n = 621).

Results Prevalence of obesity was 16.59% (103/621) at an average age of 33 years. Prevalence of any adolescent PD was 17.55% (109/621) at an average age of 16 years. Adolescents who had any PD were 1.84 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.05–3.22) times as likely to be obese 17 years later after adjusting for demographic variables and known risk factors. Paranoid, histrionic, and obsessive-compulsive PDs in adolescence were significantly associated with obesity in adulthood, with odds ratios of 3.45 (95% CI = 1.46–8.17), 4.49 (95% CI = 1.91–10.53), and 6.80 (95% CI = 2.50–18.55), respectively.

Conclusions This is the first study to report a significant independent long-term association based on prospective data between adolescent PDs and adult obesity in a community-based sample. Findings will contribute to the design of preventive measures against the development of obesity.

From the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics (L. Chen, Huang, H. Chen), College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida; Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (L. Chen), H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida; Departments of Psychiatry (Kasen, Skodol, Cohen) and Epidemiology (Cohen), Columbia University, New York, New York; and Division of Epidemiology (Kasen, Cohen), New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Henian Chen, MD, PhD, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics College of Public Health, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B Downs Blvd, MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail:

Received for publication November 20, 2014; revision received June 10, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 by American Psychosomatic Society
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