To determine gender and age differences in the prevalence of depression and anxiety and their predictive factors in adult patients with type 1 diabetes (DM1).
Random sample of DM1 adult patients from a tertiary care hospital cohort. To evaluate the presence of depression and anxiety, psychological evaluation was performed using structured clinical interview (MINI). For the specific evaluation of fear of hypoglycemia (FH), FH-15 questionnaire was used.
339 patients [51.6% male; 38.5 ± 12.9 years; HbA1c 7.5 ± 1.1% (58.5 ± 14.2 mmol/mol); 20.1 ± 12.0 years of DM1] met the inclusion criteria. Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and FH in men vs. women was as follows (%): depression: 15.4 vs. 33.5 (p < 0.05); anxiety: 13.7 vs. 26.2 (p < 0.05); and FH: 42.8 vs. 46.0 (p = NS). Among midlife female patients, prevalence of depression and anxiety was higher compared to male. Moreover, comorbid depressive and anxious symptoms were also higher in midlife female patients compared to age-matched male patients (3.5 vs. 14%, p < 0.05). Apart from age-related vulnerability, female gender, poor glycemic control, and microvascular and macrovascular complications were predictive factors for depressive and anxious symptomatology. Unawareness hypoglycemia and anxiety-prone personality were predictor factors for FH.
In adults with DM1, prevalence of depression and anxiety is higher in women. Midlife patients, in particular women, show a significantly higher prevalence of anxiety symptoms and comorbid depression and anxiety. The presence of secondary complications and sustained poor glycemic control should alert to the possibility of these mental disorders, especially in the most vulnerable age population; clinical, gender and age-related patterns could help to design more effective psychological assessment and support in adult patients with DM1.