Prospective association of screen time with binge-eating disorder among adolescents in the United States: The mediating role of depression

Abubakr A.A. Al-Shoaibi, Iris Yuefan Shao, Kyle T. Ganson, Jason M. Lavender, Alexander Testa, Orsolya Kiss, Jinbo He, David V. Glidden, Fiona C. Baker, Jason M. Nagata*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Screen time has been reported to be associated with binge-eating disorder (BED) among adolescents in the US; however, potential mediators remain unclear. This study aimed to evaluate depression symptoms as a mediator of the prospective association between screen time and BED. Method: We utilized data from 9465 children (aged 9–11 years at baseline) from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study (2016–2021). A generalized structural equation model was used to examine the prospective association between average daily screen time at baseline and BED at year 2, adjusting for baseline BED diagnosis, and other potential covariates (e.g., age, sex, and income). Mediation was examined using bias-corrected (BC) 95% confidence intervals for the indirect effect of baseline screen time on year 2 BED through depression symptoms (change from baseline to year 1). Results: One hundred and one participants (42.7% male, 49.4% racial/ethnic minority) met the criteria for BED in year 2. Participants were 9.9 years of age on average at baseline, 51.3% identified as male, and 43.1% identified as a racial/ethnic minority. Adjusting for covariates, screen time was prospectively associated with BED (OR = 1.09, 95% CI [1.03, 1.14], p =.005). Depression symptoms (B =.19, BC 95% CI [0.10, 0.28]) partially mediated (9.2%) the prospective association between screen time and BED. Discussion: Among US adolescents, higher baseline screen time was prospectively associated with BED diagnosis at year 2, and this relationship was partially mediated by increased depression symptoms. Preventive approaches targeting high screen use may have utility for reducing BED risk among adolescents. Public significance: Among U.S. adolescents, higher screen time was prospectively associated with the incidence of BED. This association was partially mediated by the change in depressive symptoms. Preventive approaches targeting high screen use may have utility for reducing BED risk among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1192-1201
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • binge eating
  • depression
  • feeding and eating disorders
  • screen use
  • social media

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