Purpose: This study identified depressive symptom trajectories in the years after diabetes diagnosis, examined factors that predict the probability for people following a specific trajectory, and investigated how the trajectories are associated with subsequent disability. Methods: We drew data from a nationally representative survey in Taiwan to identify adults aged 50 and older diagnosed with diabetes; 487 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes during 1996–2007 were included. Time axis was set to zero when diabetes was first reported in any given wave in the survey, and data related to depressive symptoms after that were recorded. We used group-based semi-parametric mixture models to identify trajectories of depressive symptoms and multinomial logistic regressions to examine factors associated with the trajectories. Results: Older adults with newly diagnosis of diabetes in Taiwan follow different trajectories of depressive symptoms over time. Being female, lower educated, not married/partnered, with lower self-rated health, hospitalizations, more limitations in physical function, less regular exercise before diagnosis, and not regularly using anti-diabetic medication at the beginning of their diagnosis were factors associated with increasing or high stable depressive symptom trajectories. Those who experienced high depressive symptoms were more likely than individuals with stable depressive symptoms to have physical limitations in the last follow-up interview. Conclusions: Depressive symptom trajectories after diabetes diagnosis were associated with select sociodemographic, health, and lifestyle factors before diagnosis, and also predicted subsequent disability. Risk groups identified in the present study may be used for personalized diabetes care that prevents diabetes-related distress and future disability.
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