The role of depression and anxiety in onset of diabetes in a large population-based study

J Psychosom Res. 2007 Jan;62(1):31-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.07.009.


Objective: Recent research has shown that depression may predict incident diabetes. The aims of the study are to investigate if symptoms of depression and anxiety precede the onset of diabetes or vice versa and to examine if mediating factors may explain such associations.

Methods: A prospective population-based study (N=37,291) investigating the associations between symptoms of depression/anxiety and diabetes was conducted.

Results: Individuals reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety at baseline had increased risk of onset of type 2 diabetes at 10-year follow-up. No gender differences were found. The analyses did not reveal underlying factors that mediated the association. Baseline diagnosis of diabetes was not associated with subsequent symptoms of anxiety or depression among males or females.

Conclusion: Diabetes did not predict symptoms of depression or anxiety. Symptoms of depression and anxiety emerged as significant risk factors for onset of type 2 diabetes independent of established risk factors for diabetes, such as socioeconomic factors, lifestyle factors, and markers of the metabolic syndrome. The comorbidity between depression and anxiety may be the most important factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Prospective Studies
  • Statistics as Topic