Publication Details

Feng, X. & Astell-Burt, T. (2017). Impact of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis on mental health, quality of life, and social contacts: a longitudinal study. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, 5 (1), e000198-1-e000198-5.


Aims The aim was to examine whether a type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) diagnosis increases the odds of psychological distress, a worsening in overall quality of life, and a potential reduction in social contacts.

Method Longitudinal data were obtained from the 45 and Up Study (baseline 2006–2008; 3.4±0.95 years follow-up time). Fixed effects logistic and negative binomial regression models were fitted on a complete case on outcome sample that did not report T2DM at baseline (N=26 344), adjusted for time-varying confounders. The key exposure was doctor-diagnosed T2DM at follow-up. Outcome variables examined included the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, self-rated quality of life, and four indicators of social contacts.

Results A modest increase in the odds of psychological distress associated with T2DM diagnosis (OR=1.30) was not statistically significant (95% CI 0.75 to 2.25). A T2DM diagnosis was associated with a fivefold increase in the odds of a participant reporting that their quality of life had become significantly poorer (OR 5.49, 95% CI 1.26 to 23.88). T2DM diagnosis was also associated with a reduction in times spent with friends and family (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.82 to 0.95), contacts by telephone (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.02), attendance at social clubs or religious groups (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.73 to 0.91), and the number of people nearby but outside the home that participants felt they could rely on (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.98).

Conclusions A T2DM diagnosis can have important impacts on quality of life and on social contacts, which may have negative impacts on mental health and T2DM management in the longer term.

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