Diabetes; Depression; Diabetes Distress; African American; Hispanic/Latinx


Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Health Psychology


Introduction. Burden of diabetes in the U.S. is greater in racial-ethnic minority populations than non-Hispanic Whites. Depression and diabetes-related distress (DRD) are recognized as relatively common and important psychosocial areas to address in people living with diabetes. Limited research in the U.S. has focused on DRD in racial-ethnic minority populations. The purpose of this study is to describe patterns of DRD and co-occurrence with depressive symptoms in urban low-income African American and Hispanic/Latinx adults with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).

Method. We examined the baseline data collected for a randomized clinical trial (RCT) studying the impact of a culturally tailored diabetes self-care intervention. Individuals with T2DM who self-identified as African American or Hispanic/Latinx were recruited from Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Measurement scales included the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS). Participants were categorized into four groups based on the PHQ-9 and DDS: high distress (without probable clinical depression), probable clinical depression (without high distress), both high distress and probable depression, or neither high distress nor probable depression. Baseline variables were summarized by sex, age and racial-ethnic group. Analyses included independent sample t-tests, Chi-square tests, and one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).

Results. The study sample included 247 participants with 118 (47.8%) Hispanic/Latinx and 129 (52.2%) African American adults with T2DM. The mean age was 52.9 years (SD=12.2) and 68.0% were female. Based on PHQ-9 scores, 51.4% had none to minimal, 23.5% mild, and 25.1% moderate-severe depressive symptomatology. Based on the DDS, 37.7% had little to no DRD, 27.1% moderate, and 35.2% high DRD. There was not a statistically significant relationship between sex and depression or DRD levels. There was not a statistically significant difference between age and depression; however, there was a statistically significant difference between age and DRD (p=.002). When examining the co-occurrence of DRD and depression, over half of the participants did not experience high distress nor probable clinical depression (57.5%), 17.8% experienced both high distress and depression, 17.4% experienced high distress without depression, and 7.3% experienced depression without distress. There was no statistically significant relationship found between sex and co-occurrence groups; however, there was a statistically significant difference for age (p=.003).

Discussion. A substantial proportion of individuals from both racial-ethnic groups experienced high DRD and/or probable clinical depression with some differences for age. Patterns found for specific DRD areas and co-occurrence of DRD and depressive symptoms can help clinicians better understand and address these challenges.