Changes in the Prevalence of Symptoms of Depression, Loneliness, and Insomnia in U.S. Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Look AHEAD Study
Research Design and Methods: This was a prospective, observational study of participants from the Look AHEAD cohort study. Data were from two assessments before COVID-19 (Visit 1 (V1): April 2016-June 2018 and Visit 2 (V2): February 2018-February 2020), and one assessment during COVID-19 (Visit 3 (V3): July-December 2020). Surveys were administered to assess depressive symptoms, loneliness, and insomnia.
Results: The study included 2829 adults (63.2% female, 60.6% white, mean [SD] age 75.6 [6.0] years). The prevalence of mild or greater depressive symptoms did not change significantly between the two pre-pandemic visits (p=0.88) but increased significantly from pre- to during COVID-19 (19.3% at V2 to 30.4% at V3 (p<0.001)). Higher odds of mild or greater depressive symptoms at V3 were associated with being female (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-1.7), identifying as non-Hispanic White (OR=1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-1.7), having obesity (OR=1.3; 95% CI, 1.0-1.5), and reporting mild or greater depressive symptoms at Visit 1 (OR=4.0; 95% CI, 2.9-5.4), V2 (OR=4.4; 95% CI, 3.2-5.9), or both visits (OR=13.4; 95% CI, 9.7-18.4). The prevalence of loneliness increased from 12.3% at V1 to 22.1% at V3 (p<0.001), while the prevalence of insomnia remained stable across visits at 31.5-33.3%.
Conclusions: The prevalence of mild or greater depressive symptoms in older adults with diabetes was more than 1.6 times higher during COVID-19 than before the pandemic.