Do mental disorders moderate the association between diabetes status and alcohol consumption?

Psychol Health Med. 2018 Mar;23(3):277-284. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2017.1384552. Epub 2017 Nov 22.


Although heavy alcohol consumption is associated with diabetes-related complications, little is known about patterns of alcohol use among people with diabetes. Moreover, heavy drinking is more common among individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) than in the general population, and these disorders are often comorbid with diabetes. The present study tested the hypothesis that mental disorders moderate the association between diabetes status and alcohol consumption. A total of 14,302 adult participants aged 40-79 were included from the cross-sectional 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health (1,698 with diabetes). Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear regression models. MDD and BD, but not GAD, significantly moderated the association between diabetes status and alcohol quantity, such that the presence of diabetes was strongly and negatively associated with alcohol quantity if individuals had MDD or BD. There was no interaction between diabetes status and any of the mental disorders and alcohol frequency. This study suggests that among individuals with diabetes, those with comorbid MDD or BD drink less than those without MDD or BD. Further investigation of this association is needed and could help inform future alcohol-related interventions among individuals with diabetes.

Keywords: Diabetes; alcohol; bipolar disorder; generalized anxiety disorder; major depressive disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged