Age at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and depressive symptoms, diabetes-specific distress and self-compassion
Objective: To investigate the association between age at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and depressive symptoms, diabetes-specific distress, and self-compassion among adults with type 2 diabetes.
Research Design and Methods: This analysis used data from the CODEC (Chronotype of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Effect on Glycaemic Control) cross-sectional study. Information was collected on depressive symptoms, diabetes-specific distress, and self-compassion, measured using validated self-report questionnaires, in addition to sociodemographic and clinical data. Multivariable regression models, adjusted for diabetes duration, sex, ethnicity, deprivation status, prescription of antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and BMI were used to investigate the association between age at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and each of the three psychological outcomes.
Results: 706 participants were included; 64 (9.1%) were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes under the age of 40 years, 422 (59.8%) between 40-59 years, and 220 (31.2%) at 60 years or older. After adjustment for key confounders, including diabetes duration, younger age at diagnosis was significantly associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms (βadj: -0.18, 95% CI: -0.25 to -0.10, p<0.01) and diabetes-specific distress (βadj: -0.03, 95% CI: -0.04 to -0.02, p<0.01), and lower levels of self-compassion (βadj: 0.01, 95% CI: 0.00 to 0.02, p<0.01).
Conclusions: Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at a younger age is associated with lower psychological wellbeing, suggesting the need for clinical vigilance and the availability of age-appropriate psychosocial support.