Prospective studies testing the potential impact of diabetes complications on depression are limited. The present study examined the longitudinal associations between diabetes complications and the risk and recurrence/persistence of depressive symptoms.
Data were from a prospective community cohort telephone survey of adults with diabetes (N = 1314). Diabetes complications and depressive symptoms were assessed via self-report (Diabetes Complications Index and Patient Health Questionnaire-9, respectively) at baseline and annually for 5 years. Statistical models adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle, and diabetes characteristics.
The number of diabetes complications at baseline was positively associated with a greater risk of elevated depressive symptoms, with the highest risk found for those with four to six complications at baseline (risk ratio = 2.73, 95% confidence interval = 1.64–4.56). Cerebrovascular disease was the complication most strongly associated with incident depressive symptoms (risk ratio = 2.22, 95% confidence interval = 1.59–3.10). Coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, and neuropathy were also associated with the risk of depression, whereas foot problems and eye problems were not. In addition, a greater number of diabetes complications were associated with recurrent/persistent depression, though with a small effect size (Δr2 = .02). A parallel process latent growth curve model indicated that increases in diabetes complications were associated with increases in depressive symptoms during the course of the follow-up period (β = .74, p < .001).
This study demonstrates the temporal relation between diabetes complications and depressive symptoms and underscores the psychological burden of diabetes complications by prospectively demonstrating the increased risk and recurrence of depressive symptoms associated with diabetes complications.