Spouse’s Diabetes Status and Incidence of Depression and Anxiety: An 18-Year Prospective Study
We investigated the risk of depression and/or anxiety in people whose spouse did or did not have diabetes. We also examined associations between depression and/or anxiety and severity of spouse’s diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN & METHODS
We analyzed prospective self-reported data about diagnosed depression/anxiety and diabetes in cohabiting couples in the national Panel Study of Income Dynamics, 1999-2017 (n=13,500, 128,833 person-years of follow-up, median follow-up: 8.1 years). We used Poisson models to estimate incidence and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of depression/anxiety, according to spouse’s diabetes status overall and by severity of diabetes.
Age-, sex- and race- adjusted incidence of depression/anxiety was 8.0/1000 person-years (95%CI: 6.5, 9.6) among those whose spouse had diabetes and 6.5/1000 person-years (95%CI, 6.0, 6.9) among those whose spouse did not have diabetes. Those whose spouse had diabetes had higher risk of depression/anxiety (IRR: 1.24, 95%CI: 1.01;1.53). Those whose spouse had diabetes-related limitations in daily activities (IRR: 1.89, 95%CI: 1.35, 2.67) and diabetes combined with other chronic conditions (IRR: 2.34, 95%CI: 1.78, 3.09) were more likely to develop depression/anxiety, while those whose spouse had diabetes with no limitations or additional chronic conditions had similar incidence of depression/anxiety to those whose spouses did not have diabetes.
People living with a spouse with diabetes are at higher risk of developing anxiety/depression than people whose spouse does not have diabetes; this risk is driven by the severity of the spouse’s diabetes. Strategies to address the impacts of diabetes on families need to be devised and tested.