Undertreatment of Mental Health Problems in Adults With Diagnosed Diabetes and Serious Psychological Distress

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2007

  1. Ali H. Mokdad, PHD3
  1. 1Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
  2. 2Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Washington, D.C.;
  3. 3Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
  1. Corresponding author: Chaoyang Li, cli{at}cdc.gov.


OBJECTIVE To assess the prevalence and correlates of undertreatment for mental health problems among adults with diabetes and serious psychological distress (SPD).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We analyzed data of adults aged ≥18 years from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. SPD was assessed with the Kessler-6 scale.

RESULTS The prevalence of untreated SPD was estimated to be 2.1 ± 0.1% (mean ± SE), 3.4 ± 0.3%, and 2.0 ± 0.1% in the total population, diabetic population, and nondiabetic population, respectively. Among people with SPD, those with diagnosed diabetes had a lower rate of undertreatment for mental health problems (45.0%) than those without diabetes (54.9%) (P = 0.002). Nonwhite race/ethnicity, advanced age, lack of health insurance, and currently being employed were associated with increased likelihood of undertreatment for mental health problems (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS People with diagnosed diabetes may be screened for SPD and treated for specific mental health problems in routine health care.


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    • Received August 13, 2009.
    • Accepted February 6, 2010.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 33 no. 5 1061-1064
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