Psychological burden predicts new-onset diabetes in men: A longitudinal observational study in the Fukushima Health Management Survey after the Great East Japan earthquake

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 Dec 2:13:1008109. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.1008109. eCollection 2022.


Background: The burden of psychological distress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been suggested as a factor in developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, longitudinal features in psychological distress- and PTSD-related new-onset diabetes mellitus have not been thoroughly evaluated.

Methods: The association between probable depression and probable PTSD and the risk of developing new-onset diabetes mellitus was evaluated in a 7-year prospective cohort of evacuees of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Probable depression was defined as a Kessler 6 scale (K6) ≥ 13 and probable PTSD as a PTSD Checklist-Stressor-Specific Version (PCL-S) ≥ 44.

Results: The log-rank test for the Kaplan-Meier curve for new-onset diabetes mellitus was significant between K6 ≥ 13 vs. < 13 and PCL-S ≥ 44 vs. < 44 in men but not in women. In men, both K6 ≥ 13 and PCL-S ≥ 44 remained significant in the Cox proportional hazards model after multivariate adjustment for established risk factors and disaster-related factors, including evacuation, change in work situation, sleep dissatisfaction, and education.

Conclusion: The post-disaster psychological burden of probable depression and probable PTSD was related to new-onset diabetes in men but not in women. In post-disaster circumstances, prevention strategies for new-onset diabetes might consider sex differences in terms of psychological burden.

Keywords: depression; disaster; gender differences; post-traumatic stress disorder; psychological stress; type 2 diabetes mellitus 4.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology