Anxiety and depression in obese and normal-weight individuals with diabetes type 2: a gender perspective

Scand J Caring Sci. 2012 Jun;26(2):349-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2011.00940.x. Epub 2011 Nov 14.


Background: Obesity is a problem that is increasing worldwide, leading to an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Depression is more common among individuals with diabetes, and they are more likely than non-diabetic individuals to experience emotional problems. People with both T2DM and obesity bear an additional emotional burden, which affects their quality of life.

Objectives: To describe the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression in groups of obese and normal-weight individuals with T2DM who are undergoing primary care and to investigate possible differences between the groups and between genders.

Method: Three hundred and thirty-nine patients with T2DM from nine primary-care centres participated in a cross-sectional study (n = 180 + 159). The response rate was 67%. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Beck Depression Inventory - second edition (BDI-II) were employed to estimate the patients' symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Results: An association between T2DM, obesity and depression was observed in both genders. More than one in three women and one in five men with T2DM and obesity exhibited symptoms of anxiety or depression. In the normal-weight group, the females presented more symptoms of anxiety than did their male counterparts.

Conclusion: In primary healthcare, the fact that both obese men and women with T2DM are at increased risk of anxiety and depression is an important finding, which must be recognised and considered in the course of primary healthcare consultations. Meeting the unique needs of each individual requires an understanding of both laboratory data and the individual's emotional status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Depression / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Sex Factors*
  • Sweden