Background: Depression is a common problem among those suffering from diabetes mellitus. The dual diagnoses of a chronic medical disease and mental disorder, symptomatic presentation and stringent treatment regimen are sources of psychological distress for patients and present a major challenge for healthcare workers.
Method: In a cross-sectional study, one hundred and twenty-eight Type 2 diabetic patients were investigated for depression using the Zung Depression Scale. All cases were diagnosed by a physician and patients were selected from outpatient clinics of the four major hospitals in Trinidad. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, stepwise multiple regression and t-test were utilized to examine the relationship between participant’s age, gender, glucose control, coexisting medical complications and depression.
Results: The patients were primarily Indo-Trinidadians (49%), over 50 years (79.7%) and women (60%). The prevalence of depression was 17.9% of Type 2 diabetic patients reporting mild to moderate levels of depression. Female Type 2 diabetics had higher scores of depression (M = 42.13, SD = 9.83, p = 0.011) than male Type 2 diabetics (M = 38.71, SD = 8.9). Patients with coexisting medical complications had higher levels of depression (M = 44.01, SD = 9.52) than those with diabetes alone (M = 37.74, SD = 8.79, p = 0.000).
Conclusion: The prevalence of depression in Type 2 diabetic patients highlights the necessity for psychological screening at diabetic health clinics in Trinidad and Tobago, particularly for women and those with co-morbid medical complications. This will aid in better control, quality of life and longevity.