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Study links workers with diabetes to higher depression risk

Photo: Delmaine Donson/iStockphoto

Washington — Workers who have diabetes may face a heightened risk of developing depression, according to a recent NIOSH study.

Examining 2014-2018 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, researchers identified nearly 85,000 survey respondents who reported being employed and having diabetes. Of those, 17.4% said they’ve experienced depression – a total 30% higher than that of their fellow workers who don’t have diabetes.

The respondents in the 18-34 age group indicated the highest prevalence of depression, at 28.7%. Young adult workers who have diabetes along with another chronic disease were almost three times more likely to report depression than their counterparts without an additional chronic condition. Additionally, female workers with diabetes were “significantly more likely” to report experiencing depression than male workers across all age groups.


“A strength of this study is the large population-based sample that allowed us to explore the relationship between diabetes and depression among workers by age group and other characteristics, including demographics and physical health conditions,” Harpriya Kaur, study author and NIOSH epidemiologist, said in a press release. “Having a better understanding of which groups may be at greatest risk can help inform preventive measures such as tailored educational messages and health promotion resources in the workplace.”

The study was published online Aug. 25 in the journal Diabetes Spectrum.

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