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Translational Biomedicine

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Abstract

The Importance of Screening for Mild Depression in Adults with Diabetes

Wilhelm K, Reddy J, Crawford J, Robins L, Campbell L and Proudfoot J

Aim: While the impact of major depression on diabetes has gained increasing attention, the role of minor depression is less well investigated. This observational study compared three groups of adults with Type 1 (T1DM) or Type 2 (T2DM) diabetes mellitus: with me) no depressive symptoms (NODEP), ii) mild depressive symptoms (MILD) and iii) moderate-to-severe symptoms (MOD/SEVERE)-on diabetes distress, psychological distress, anxiety and somatic symptoms, quality of life and HbA1c levels.

Methods: 245 outpatients attending two hospital diabetes services (27% with T1DM; 73% with T2DM) completed self-report measures including patient health questionnaire (PHQ), problem areas in diabetes (PAID) scale and short form health survey (SF12). Participants were interviewed by a psychiatrist and HbA1c levels recorded.

Results: Half the sample reported depressive symptoms on the PHQ-9 (29% in the MILD group, 21% in MOD/ SEVERE and the remaining 50% in the NODEP group). Compared to the NODEP group, MILD group participants had significantly higher levels of diabetes distress, psychological distress, anxiety and somatic symptoms and significantly lower mental-health related quality of life. Participants in the MOD/SEVERE group had significantly higher levels of diabetes distress, psychological distress, anxiety, and somatic symptoms than either of the other two groups, and significantly lower quality of life. The groups did not differ significantly on HbA1c.

Conclusions: Mild symptoms of depression in patients with diabetes are common and are associated with higher levels of diabetes distress, psychological distress, anxiety and somatic symptoms and lower quality of life. Addressing mild depression provides a potential avenue for preventing clinical depression in patients with diabetes.