Pitt-Bradford symposium to examine possible link between obesity and depression

BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will hold a behavioral and social sciences symposium next week to examine whether there is a link between obesity and depression.

Dr. Gregory J. Privitera, associate professor of psychology at St. Bonaventure University, will be the featured speaker. His talk “Getting Emotional about Obesity: Are Obesity and Depression Linked?” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Lester and Barbara Rice Auditorium in Fisher Hall. Refreshments will be served.

Other discussants will be Dr. Walter Rhinehart, instructor of psychology at Pitt-Bradford, and Martha Dibble, instructor of nursing at Pitt-Bradford.

In recent decades, there has been a profound shift in how appetite is viewed as a characteristic of depression, Privitera explained

In the 1950s and ’60s, reduced appetite was considered a key feature even in mild depression. Those who overate or gained weight were diagnosed with “atypical depression” and treated differently than those with “typical” depression, which was characterized by weight loss, Privitera said.

Since then, the understanding of depression has shifted, with weight gain and increased appetite being identified as a “typical” symptom of depression

Privitera will talk about how the prevailing view has changed depression from a condition characterized by weight loss and decreased appetite to one associated with weight gain and increased appetite. His talk will be based in part on work he has performed in collaboration with Duke University Medical Center.

For more information, contact symposium organizer Dr. Michael Klausner, associate professor of sociology at Pitt-Bradford, at klausner@pitt.edu or (814)362-7627.

For disability-related needs, contact the Pitt-Bradford Office of Disability Resources at (814)362-7609 or clh71@pitt.edu.

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