Introduction: The purpose of this study is to describe the impact of depression on perceptions of risks to health, diabetes self-management practices, and glycemic control in older African Americans with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: The authors analyzed data on depression, risk perceptions, diabetes self-management, and hemoglobin A1C in African Americans with type 2 diabetes.T tests, chi square, and multivariate regression were used to analyze the data.
Results: The sample included 177 African Americans (68% women) whose average age was 72.8 years. Thirty four (19.2%) participants met criteria for depression. Compared to non-depressed participants, depressed participants scored significantly higher on Personal Disease Risk (the perception of being at increased risk for various medical problems), Environmental Risk (i.e., increased risk for environmental hazards), and Composite Risk Perception (i.e., overall perceptions of increased risk), adhered less to diabetes self-management practices, and had marginally worse glycemic control. Depression and fewer years of education were independent predictors of overall perception of increased health risks.
Conclusion: Almost 20% of older African Americans with type 2 diabetes in this study were depressed. Compared to non-depressed participants, they tended to have fewer years of education, perceived themselves at higher risk for multiple health problems, and adhered less to diabetes self-management practices. It is important for diabetes educators to recognize the impact of low education and the fatalistic perceptions that depression engenders in this population.
Rovner, MD, Barry W.; Haller, MD, Julia A.; Casten, PhD, Robin J.; Murchison, MD, MPH, Ann P.; and Hark, PhD, RD, Lisa A., "Depression and Risk Perceptions in Older African Americans with Diabetes" (2014). Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Faculty Papers. Paper 21.