Association between diabetes mellitus and depressive symptoms in the Brazilian population


Rev. Saúde Pública




ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE To determine the prevalence of current depressive symptoms in people with diabetes mellitus and their association with the disease. METHODS Data were collected from the Brazilian National Health Survey (Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde - PNS), a cross-sectional, population-based study conducted in 2013. Study participants were selected by simple random cluster sampling in three stages: census tracts, households, and residents aged ≥ 18 years. The presence of diabetes was self-reported, whereas the presence of current depressive symptoms was determined by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and mean scores of this questionnaire were calculated for the variables assessed. Tobit regression was used to evaluate variation in these individuals. RESULTS Of the 60,202 interviewees, 6.03% (n = 3,636) reported diabetes mellitus. The disease was more frequent in female, older, widowed, obese and with incomplete elementary education. Depression symptoms were mild-to-moderately severe in 22% of the diabetics. The severity of current depressive symptoms was higher in individuals that were female (PHQ-9 mean = 3.35), older adults (PHQ-9 mean = 3.01), indigenous (PHQ-9 mean = 3.46), separated/divorced (PHQ-9 mean = 3.13), widowed (PHQ-9 mean = 3.39), obese (PHQ-9 mean = 3.13) and with incomplete primary education (PHQ-9 mean = 3.21). Higher severity of depressive symptoms was associated with the use of insulin and with coma (PHQ-9 mean = 8.32), limb amputation (PHQ-9 mean = 7.55), circulatory problems (PHQ-9 mean = 6.94), infarction (PHQ-9 mean = 6.83), diabetic foot (PHQ-9 mean = 6.62), and kidney problems (PHQ-9 mean = 6.68). The severity of current depressive symptoms was associated with diabetes severity and degree of limitation in activities of daily living (PHQ-9 mean = 10.62). CONCLUSIONS Interventions to improve depressive symptoms should be prioritized in people with diabetes are female, older adults, indigenous, widowed, separated/divorced, obese and with incomplete elementary education.

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