Prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms in older adults across the glycaemic spectrum: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

A. M. Rawlings, A. R. Sharrett, Sherita Hill Golden, B. G. Windham, Elizabeth Selvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aims: To document the prevalence of current depressive symptoms and history of depression across the glycaemic spectrum in older adults, and examine if measures of health status and healthcare satisfaction, access and utilization explain differences in the prevalence of current depressive symptoms by diabetes status. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 6226 participants aged 67-90 years who attended the 2011-2013 visit of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Diabetes was based on self-report, medication use and HbA1c. Current depressive symptoms were defined using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression 11-item questionnaire, and history of depression was assessed via self-report. We examined obesity, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, kidney disease, cognitive function, and self-reported health compared with others. Prevalence and prevalence ratios were estimated using age-, race-, and sex-adjusted Poisson regression. Results: The prevalence of current depressive symptoms was 5.4% in people without diabetes and 11.0% in people with diabetes (prevalence ratio 2.04, 95% CI 1.60, 2.48); the prevalence of history of depression was 11% in people without diabetes and 17.7% in people with diabetes (prevalence ratio 1.61, 95% CI 1.28,1.95). Strong correlates of current depressive symptoms were history of depression (prevalence ratio 3.86, 95% CI 3.05, 4.90) and reporting poor health compared with others (prevalence ratio 3.88, 95% CI 2.93, 5.15). No variables had significantly different associations with depressive symptoms across glycaemic categories (P for interaction >0.10). Conclusions: In older adults, current depressive symptoms were twice as prevalent in people with diabetes compared with those without. Measures of health status and healthcare did not explain differences in depressive symptoms between people with and without diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDiabetic Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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