Objective: To investigate the use of a short questionnaire to measure psychological symptoms in a busy clinic setting, and to examine the prevalence of these symptoms in adults with diabetes. The perceived need for psychological treatment services was also measured.
Methods: Adults (> 18 years) with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes were invited to complete a short demographic form and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) whilst waiting for their routine diabetes outpatients appointment. Complication status was measured via patients’ medical records. Glycaemic control (HbA(1c)) was also recorded.
Results: A high response rate (96%) was achieved. Prevalence rates of psychological symptoms were high (overall 28% of study participants reported moderate-severe levels of depression or anxiety or both). Men were somewhat more likely to report moderate-severe depressive symptoms, whereas women reported more moderate-severe anxiety. A significant association between depression and poor glycaemic control was observed in the men, but not in the women. Regression analysis demonstrated that the interaction between sex and glycaemic control, HbA(1c) and sex were all significantly associated with depression and anxiety (R2 = 0.16 and 0.19, respectively). One-third of subjects reported that at the moment they would be interested in receiving counselling or psychotherapy if it was currently available at the diabetes clinic.
Conclusion: This study has shown that the HADS is an appropriate questionnaire to use in a clinic setting in adults with diabetes. There may be a stronger association between glycaemic control and psychological symptomatology in men than in women. There remains a significant proportion of individuals with diabetes who require psychological support, which, if available, might help improve glycaemic control and thus overall wellbeing.