Aims/Introduction: The present study investigated the longitudinal associations between depressive symptoms and glycemic control in nationally representative adults with type 2 diabetes, and tested the effects of sex and perceived family support in moderating this association. Materials and Methods: In this longitudinal study of middle-aged and older adults who participated in the 2002 and 2006 Health and Retirement Study, and the 2003 and 2006 Diabetes Study (n = 398), we applied a cross-lagged structural equation model to examine the reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and glycemic control over a 3-year period. Results: Men and women were not different in terms of the depressive symptoms and glycemic control relationship, with a stronger association noted for higher depressive symptom scores predicting worse glycemic control (β = 0.22, critical ratio 3.03), as opposed to worse glycemic control predicting higher depressive symptom scores. Family and friend support for diabetes self-management serves as an important buffer. In patients with low family and friend support, more depressive symptoms at baseline were associated with subsequent worse glycemic levels (β = 0.36, critical ratio 4.03). In contrast, in individuals who had strong support, depressive symptoms did not predict subsequent glycemic control. Conclusions: The present study provided evidence for the relationship between glycemic control and depression, finding that depressive symptoms predicted poorly controlled glycemic status, especially when the participants perceived inadequate support from their family or friends. A quick survey in clinics to assess the level of family or friend support for diabetes management and depressive symptoms might be an important part of individualized diabetic care.
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