Nurses' recognition and registration of depression, anxiety and diabetes-specific emotional problems in outpatients with diabetes mellitus

Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Feb;60(2):235-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2005.01.009.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate how often emotional problems were recognized and registered by diabetes nurses.

Methods: We studied medical charts and questionnaire data of 112 diabetes patients. The hospital anxiety, depression scale and the problem areas in diabetes survey were used to measure anxiety, depression and diabetes-specific emotional distress.

Results: In patients with moderate to severe levels of anxiety or depression, the presence of an emotional problem was recorded in the medical chart in 20-25% of the cases. The registration-rate of diabetes-specific emotional distress was also found to be low, ranging from 0% (treatment-related problems) to 29% (diabetes-related emotional problems).

Conclusion: Registration-rates of emotional problems by diabetes nurses were found to be low, but quite similar to detection rates of physicians and nurses in studies with non-diabetic samples.

Practice implications: These findings suggest that recognition-rates of emotional problems in diabetes patients need to be increased. Future studies should investigate whether recognition and subsequent treatment of emotional problems in diabetes patients can be facilitated by utilizing validated, standardized self-report questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / nursing*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Nursing Audit*
  • Nursing Records
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*