Depression Symptoms and Antidepressant Medicine Use in Diabetes Prevention Program Participants

  1. The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group*
  1. From the Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinating Center, Biostatistics Center, George Washington University, Rockville, Maryland
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Richard Rubin, PhD, Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, George Washington University Biostatistics Center, 6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 750, Rockville, MD 20852. E-mail: dppmail{at}


OBJECTIVE—To assess depression markers (symptoms and antidepressant medicine use) in Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) participants and to determine whether changes in depression markers during the course of the study were associated with treatment arm, weight change, physical activity level, or participant demographic characteristics.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—DPP participants (n = 3,187) in three treatment arms (intensive lifestyle, metformin, and placebo) completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and reported on use of antidepressant medicines at randomization and subsequently at each annual visit (average duration in study 3.2 years).

RESULTS—On study entry, 10.3% of participants had BDI scores ≥11, which was used as a threshold for mild depression, 5.7% took antidepressant medicines, and 0.9% had both depression markers. During the DPP, the proportion of participants with elevated BDI scores declined (from 10.3% at baseline to 8.4% at year 3), while the proportion taking antidepressant medicines increased (from 5.7% at baseline to 8.7% at year 3), leaving the proportion with either marker unchanged. These time trends were not significantly associated with the DPP treatment arm. Depression markers throughout the study were associated with some participant demographic factors, adjusted for other factors. Men were less likely to have elevated depression scores and less likely to use antidepressant medicine at baseline (9.0% of men and 17.9% of women had at least one marker of depression) and throughout the study (P <0.0001). Those with more education were less likely to have elevated symptom scores (P = 0.0007) but more likely to be taking antidepressant medicine (P = 0.002). Non-Hispanic white participants were less likely than African Americans to have BDI scores ≥11 (P = 0.03), but white participants were more likely to be taking antidepressant medicine than any other racial/ethnic group (P <0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS—DPP participation was not associated with changes in levels of depression. Countervailing trends in the proportion of DPP participants with elevated depression symptoms and the proportion taking antidepressant medicine resulted in no significant change in the proportion with either marker. The finding that those taking antidepressant medicine often do not have elevated depression symptoms indicates the value of assessing both markers when estimating overall depression rates.


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    * The members of the writing group for the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group are Richard R. Rubin, PhD; William C. Knowler, MD, DrPh; Yong Ma, MS; David G. Marrero, PhD; Sharon L. Edelstein, ScM; Elizabeth A. Walker, DNSc, RN; Sanford A. Garfield, PhD; and Edwin B. Fisher, PhD.

  • A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

    • Accepted January 1, 2005.
    • Received September 15, 2004.
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  1. doi: 10.2337/diacare.28.4.830 Diabetes Care vol. 28 no. 4 830-837