Investigating the association between diabetes mellitus, depression and psychological distress in a cohort of South African teachers

Domingo, Abdul Kader ; Asmal, Laila ; Seedat, Soraya ; Esterhuizen, Tonya M. ; Laurence, Carien ; Volmink, Jimmy (2015-11)

CITATION: Domingo, A.K. 2015. Investigating the association between diabetes mellitus, depression and psychological distress in a cohort of South African teachers. South African Medical Journal, 105(12):1057-1060, doi:10.7196/SAMJ.2015.v105i12.9843.

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za

Article

Background. Diabetes mellitus (DM) may increase the risk of depression as a result of a sense of threat of debilitating complications or because of associated lifestyle changes. Depression may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes as a result of poor health behaviours. Objective. To determine the association between diabetes mellitus, depression and psychological distress in a cohort of South African (SA) teachers. Methods. Teachers from 111 public schools in the Metro South District of the Cape Metropolitan area, SA, were invited to participate in this study. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) were used to assess depression and psychological distress, respectively. A professional nurse completed a physical examination and collected blood for measurement of glucose, cholesterol and serum creatinine. Results. Of the 388 teachers who completed the questionnaires, 67.5% were female and the average age was 46.2 years (standard deviation 8.7). Psychological distress was identified in 28.1% of the cohort and depression in 15.5%, and 7.7% were found to fulfil criteria for DM. A diagnosis of DM was associated with an increased risk of depression (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.90; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33 - 11.37) and psychological distress (AOR 3.62; 95% CI 1.31 - 10.00). Conclusion. The high prevalence of obesity and DM in this cohort of SA teachers is of concern. A diagnosis of DM was strongly associated with an increased risk of depression and psychological distress.

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