The Association Between Vegan, Vegetarian, and Omnivore Diet Quality and Depressive Symptoms in Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Objective: Healthy dietary patterns, rich in plant foods are associated with decreased risk of depressive symptoms in observational epidemiological research and several RCT studies. However, across the literature plant-based dietary followers are found to have an increased risk of depression. Limited research has considered a comparison between meat and plant-based diets and depression. This study explores the association between diet quality and depressive symptoms across omnivore, vegan, and vegetarian dietary patterns.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey utilised the Dietary Screening Tool (DST) and the Centre for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Scale (CESD-20) to measure diet quality and depressive symptoms. A total of 496 participants identified as either omnivore (n = 129), vegetarian (n = 151), or vegan (n = 216).

Results: Diet quality was highest in the vegan sample, followed by vegetarian and omnivore patterns. The results show a significant, moderate negative relationship between higher diet quality and lower depressive symptoms (r = -.385, p Conclusions: This study suggests that diet quality in a meat-based or plant-based diet could be a modifiable lifestyle factor with the potential to reduce the risk of depressive symptoms. The study indicates a greater protective role of a high-quality plant-based diet and lower depressive symptoms.
Period15 Mar 2023
Event titleInternational Society of Nutritional Psychiatry Research: Conference
Event typeConference
LocationCairns, AustraliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational