Association between depression, happiness, and sleep duration: data from the UAE healthy future pilot study

Mitha Al Balushi, Sara Al Balushi, Syed Javaid, Andrea Leinberger-Jabari, Fatma Al-Maskari, Mohammed Al-Houqani, Ayesha Al Dhaheri, Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Abdullah Al Junaibi, Naima Oumeziane, Marina Kazim, Aisha Al Hamiz, Muna Haji, Ayesha Al Hosani, Leila Abdel Wareth, Wael AlMahmeed, Habiba Alsafar, Fatme AlAnouti, Eiman Al Zaabi, Claire K. InmanOmar El Shahawy, Michael Weitzman, Ann Marie Schmidt, Scott Sherman, Abdishakur Abdulle, Amar Ahmad, Raghib Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The United Arab Emirates Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS) is one of the first large prospective cohort studies and one of the few studies in the region which examines causes and risk factors for chronic diseases among the nationals of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The aim of this study is to investigate the eight-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8) as a screening instrument for depression among the UAEHFS pilot participants. Methods: The UAEHFS pilot data were analyzed to examine the relationship between the PHQ-8 and possible confounding factors, such as self-reported happiness, and self-reported sleep duration (hours) after adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), and gender. Results: Out of 517 participants who met the inclusion criteria, 487 (94.2%) participants filled out the questionnaire and were included in the statistical analysis using 100 multiple imputations. 231 (44.7%) were included in the primary statistical analysis after omitting the missing values. Participants’ median age was 32.0 years (Interquartile Range: 24.0, 39.0). In total, 22 (9.5%) of the participant reported depression. Females have shown significantly higher odds of reporting depression than males with an odds ratio = 3.2 (95% CI:1.17, 8.88), and there were approximately 5-fold higher odds of reporting depression for unhappy than for happy individuals. For one interquartile-range increase in age and BMI, the odds ratio of reporting depression was 0.34 (95% CI: 0.1, 1.0) and 1.8 (95% CI: 0.97, 3.32) respectively. Conclusion: Females are more likely to report depression compared to males. Increasing age may decrease the risk of reporting depression. Unhappy individuals have approximately 5-fold higher odds of reporting depression compared to happy individuals. A higher BMI was associated with a higher risk of reporting depression. In a sensitivity analysis, individuals who reported less than 6 h of sleep per 24 h were more likely to report depression than those who reported 7 h of sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235
JournalBMC psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Depression
  • Happiness
  • PHQ-8
  • Self-reported happiness
  • Sleep duration
  • Sociodemographic and marital status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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