Associated Factors of Depression among Type 2 Diabetic Outpatients in Black Lion General Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Research Article

Austin J Endocrinol Diabetes. 2015;2(1): 1032.

Associated Factors of Depression among Type 2 Diabetic Outpatients in Black Lion General Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tesfa Dejenie Habtewold1*, Sisay Mulugeta2 and Yohannes Gebreegziabhere1

1Department of Nursing, Debre Berhan University , Ethiopia

2Department of Midwifery, Debre Berhan University, Ethiopia

*Corresponding author: Tesfa Dejenie Habtewold, Department of Nursing, Debre Berhan University , Ethiopia,

Received: February 18, 2015; Accepted: March 18, 2015; Published: April 02, 2015


Background: Depression is a common comorbidity among patients with type 2 diabetes. The emotional consequences of diabetes have been scrutinized by a number of investigative teams and there were varying reports about the association of depression and type 2diabetes. However, there is limited data about this in Ethiopia.

Objective: To assess the associated risk factors of co-morbid depression among type 2 diabetic out patients presenting to Black Lion General Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Method: Institution based cross-sectional study design was conducted on a random sample of 276 type 2 diabetic outpatients from Black Lion General Specialized Hospital. Systematic random sampling technique was used to get each individual respondent. Data regarding patient characteristics were collected using structured interviewer administered questionnaire and health related information were collected from patient chart. Association between depression and type 2 diabetes among patients were explored using multiple logistic regression model.

Result: Totally 264 study participants were interviewed with a response rate of 95.6%. Of whom those interviewed participants 53.0% were female, 69.3% were married, 80.7% were Orthodox Christian, and 57.2% were Amhara. The mean + standard deviation age at diagnosis and current age of the subjects were 43.9 + 10.9 and 55.9 + 10.9 years respectively. The statistically significant risk factors was poor social support (odds ratio 14.7, 95% CI 1.94-111.89, p-value 0.01).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that depression is a common comorbid health problem in type 2 diabetic out-patients. Poor social support was the risk factor significantly associated with depression among type 2 diabetes patients. In a setting where recognition, screening and treatment levels remain low, health care providers need to focus their efforts on diagnosing, referring and effectively treating co-morbid depression in order to deliver rights-based and client-centered services for people in real needs.

Keywords: Diabetes; Depression; Adult patient; Co-morbidity; Associated factors; Outpatient; Ethiopia; Cross-sectional study



Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease, characterized by a disorder in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids, either as a result of decreased insulin secretion , or due to a reduction to insulin sensitivity of the cells of the body cells. It is a disease that acquires epidemic form and constitutes one of the major threats to human health in 21st century [1]. The World Health Organization projected that 300 million people will suffer from diabetes by 2025 [2]. Diabetes, the fourth leading cause of death has affected an estimated 246 million people in the world [3]. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95% of the incidence of diabetes and is associated with a strong genetic predisposition as well as age, obesity and lack of physical activity [4].

The prevalence of diabetes is growing significantly throughout the world, and Sub-Saharan Africa is no exception. In 2010, 12.1 million people were estimated to be living with diabetes in Africa, and this is projected to increase to 23.9 million by 2030 [5].

Ethiopia, which is one of the developing nations, is at a risk of increased diabetes incidence. In 2012 the estimated diagnosed diabetes cases (20-79 years) and estimated numbers of people with undiagnosed diabetes (20-79 years) in 1000s in Ethiopia is 1,386.64 and 1,145.50 respectively. In addition, the estimated diabetes-related death is 23,869 (20-79 years) [6].

Depression is a serious chronic disease that is associated with more functional disability than many other chronic diseases. Depression is the fourth most important contributor to the global burden of disease and in year 2000 comprises 4.4% of the total Disability Adjusted Life Years [7]. Previous work on the relationship of diabetes and depression has often focused on major depressive disorder; however, subsyndromal depressive conditions are far more prevalent than major depressive disorder and are linked to increased disability, risk of health decline, and health care use, and premature mortality [8].

The emotional consequences of diabetes have been scrutinized by a number of investigative teams [9]. A bidirectional association has been found between depression and diabetes mellitus [10]. Type 2 diabetes and depression are two long course diseases with modifiable risk factors. Among patients with type 2 diabetes, depression is found to be strongly associated with increased morbidity and mortality [2, 3, 11-13]. Similarly, depression is a common and costly comorbidity among people with diabetes [14, 15]. Likewise surveys and meta– analyses conducted on diabetes mellitus and depression have shown that the existence of diabetes mellitus doubles the probabilities of depression occurrence [1, 16]. On the contrary, Robinson compared diabetic and non-diabetic samples of patients in Great Britain and found no clear relationship between onset of diabetes and depression [17]. Comorbid depression and diabetes may significantly worsen the course of both disorders, leading to increased socioeconomic stress, reduced functioning and quality of life, and higher complication and mortality rates. Among diabetic patients, depression can be persistent and severe [18].

However, in spite of the huge impact of co-morbid depression and diabetes on the individual and its importance as a public health problem, little is known about the existence of depression in people with diabetes in Ethiopia.

Statement of the problem

The depression and diabetes are causally related and deserves attention from clinicians to ensure better management [2]. The cross sectional prevalence of type 2 diabetes and mood disorders has been increasing over the past several decades. Adverse effects of type 2 diabetes on psychiatric status and psychological well-being have been reported [4]. In Ethiopia mental Health has been one of the most disadvantaged health programs, both in terms of facilities and trained manpower. However, during the last decade; encouraging efforts have been taken to expand services throughout the country [7].

Lack of adequate understanding of the relationship between diabetes and depression is a problem that has major clinical and policy implications. In a meta-analysis of 42 studies, Anderson et al concluded that the presence of diabetes doubles the odds of having depression [8]. Patients with type 2 diabetes are 52% more likely to develop Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) than the general population, and most of these patients are managed in primary care [12]. Comorbid depression has been shown to have a significant impact on functional disability and increase the risk of early mortality 2-3 times compared to non-depressed patients with diabetes [16].

Lack of adequate understanding of the relationship between diabetes and depression is a problem that has major clinical and policy implications. In a meta-analysis of 42 studies, Anderson et al concluded that the presence of diabetes doubles the odds of having depression [8]. Patients with type 2 diabetes are 52% more likely to develop Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) than the general population, and most of these patients are managed in primary care [12]. Comorbid depression has been shown to have a significant impact on functional disability and increase the risk of early mortality 2-3 times compared to non-depressed patients with diabetes [16]. accurately estimate the potential medical care needs and public health burdens of depression in the general diabetic population [19].

A number of studies, including meta-analyses, have shown the association between diabetes and depression. This is an important public health issue because depressive disorders generally have been associated with the outcomes of chronic diseases like diabetes and have contributed to the high economic burden of health care costs [20].Current epidemiological evidence suggests that at least one third of people with diabetes suffer from clinically relevant depressive disorders [2, 21, 22]. For the treatment of depression in diabetes patients, it is important that depression is recognized at an early stage [23]. To date, the reasons for the higher prevalence rates of depression in diabetic patients are not yet fully understood [22, 24]. So that the major aim of this study is to investigate the associated factors leading to depression among type 2 diabetic patients.

Significance of the study

Clinical guidelines advise screening for depression in patients with diabetes [13]. But, it is difficult to accurately estimate the potential medical care needs and public health burdens of depression in the general diabetic population [19]. A timely identification of patients with sub-threshold or clinical depression and a structured approach for the management of depression in diabetes has proved to be effective in reducing the burden of depression in diabetes. In the short term, healthcare expenditure can be saved. In the long term, a better prognosis, maintenance or improvement in quality of life can be achieved in patients with diabetes, which is the ultimate goal of diabetes therapy [22]. Previous research into the prevalence of depression in diabetes has enhanced our understanding of the magnitude of the problem of depression, its ramifications and potential risk factors. However, only a few studies have been performed in specialist diabetes care settings [25]. Data on depression in the diabetes patients in Ethiopia are inadequate particularly for type 2 diabetic patients. Therefore, this study will be helpful to extend understanding of the relationship of depression to diabetes thoroughly investigating associated factors of depression in type 2 diabetic patients. Additionally, it will also help health care providers to initiate early diagnosis and management of depression based on a research finding. Besides, it provides policy makers and NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) with relevant information for future planning and interventions, and used as input for further research.

Review of Literature

Depression and Type 2 diabetes mellitus

A cross-sectional study conducted in Chandigarh, India; discovered that from 300 type 2 diabetic patients, 68 (23%) patients fulfilled the criteria for severe depression, 54 (18%) for moderate depression and 178 (59%) patients had no clinically significant depression [2]. Prevalence estimates indicate that diabetes is associated with a twofold higher risk of comorbid depression compared to the general population, with rates among Hispanics as high as 33% [4]. Similarly, a meta-analysis by Anderson et al identified the prevalence of depression in diabetes ranging from 8 to 61% [8]. Another study showed that the rates of elevated depressive symptoms have been found to be 27% in type 2 diabetes mellitus [16].

A population study in South Australia found that the prevalence of depression in the diabetic population was 23.6% (22.1–25.1) compared with 17.1% (15.8 –18.4) in the non-diabetic population [20]. Likewise, a cross-sectional study done in Bangladesh using PHQ- 9 (score =5) depicted that the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 34% (n = 142) when using the audio questionnaire delivery method. When a cut-off value (PHQ-9 =10) indicative of moderate to severe depression was used, the prevalence was to be 16.5% (n = 69) which was sportive of the above findings [21].

In a study from the European Depression in Diabetes (EDID) research consortium, prevalence rates for depressive affect in outpatients with diabetes ranged between 34% and 39% for Croatian out-patients,19%and 21% for Dutch out-patients and 19% and 39% for English out-patients [25]. Studies from USA and UK reported the prevalence of depression in patients with type 2 diabetic patient varying from 30 to 83% [19, 26]. A small study from Iran reported 55 per cent prevalence of depression in patients with type 2 diabetic patients [27].

Diabetes may increase risk of depression because of the sense of threat and loss associated with receiving this diagnosis and the substantial lifestyle changes necessary to avoid developing debilitating complications [28]. Several reviews indicate that the prevalence of comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) in persons with diabetes ranges from 11 to 33% and that this comorbidity is associated with high symptom burden and disability. A systematic review of 12 studies on depression compared with non-depressed persons with diabetes, the odds were three times greater than depressed persons with diabetes [29].

A quarterly publication on diabetic people care in Mexico stated that depression was twice as common in people with diabetes as in those without diabetes. Thirty one percent of people with diabetes report significant depressive symptoms and approximately 11% meet criteria for a major depressive disorder [30].

In another community based study conducted in Bangladesh, the prevalence of depression, diagnosed using the Beck Depression Inventory, was found to be 46% in patients with Type 2 diabetes in Mexico [31, 45]. Gavard et al. reviewed 20 studies of the comorbidity of depression and diabetes and found that the prevalence of current depression in diabetic samples averaged around 15%, much higher than in the general population. Black et al. found that 31.1% of older Mexican American diabetics reported clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms [32].

Factors associated with Co-morbid depression in diabetic patient

Demographic factors: There was varied study that showed different demographic associated risk factors affects development of co-morbid depression among diabetic patients. The prevalence rates of depression were significantly higher in females with type 2 diabetes mellitus compared with males with type 2 diabetes mellitus [21, 30, 31, 33-37]. This evidence was supported by the following study finding; a doubled percentage of 41.4% than men of 17.8% [1], more than three times higher in women compared with men for the PHQ-9 (Odds ratio [OR] 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.2-5.4) [21], women made up a significantly larger portion of the depressed subjects than those not depressed (87.5% vs. 68.9%, P = 0.018) [38]. Other demographic risk factor that had significantly associated in varying degree with depression in people with diabetes includes: age at diabetes diagnosis [35, 36]; younger [12, 30, 38], older (age > 65 years) population (40.3%) reported moderate to severe depression on PHQ-9 (P = 0.008) measurement tool [13, 21], age =54 yr (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.02, 1.67; P<0.05) [1], low socioeconomic status [21, 30, 33. 34], monthly income >5000 INR (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.03-1.41; P<0.001) [2], with OR = 0.99; P <.05 [12], less education [9, 21, 30], being unmarried [9, 30], urban residence [21], family status; widowed and divorced individuals had higher percentages of depression (36%) in relation to married and unmarried people [1], nature of relationship with sexual partners [37], ethnicity/race; ethnic minority [39] and (with OR 2.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09, 4.46) [25]; smoking habits [14, 40, 41], physical activity [14], sedentary life [35], and unemployment (95%) with P< 0.001 [38].

On the contrary, a study conducted by Amit et’al, Diana et’al, and Egede and Ellis found that sex/gender, age, residence, educational status, race/ethnicity, marital status, employment status, and household income had no significant association with the development of co-morbid depression among diabetic patient [2, 12, 37, 38].

Psychosocial factors: As with demographic associated risk factors, the effects of psychosocial factor on co-morbid depression in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus supported in different studies by different scholars.

These factors that had a significant association with co-morbid depression comprise; increased health care costs/financial stress [9, 12, 18], poor social support [9, 30], experience chronic stressors or negative life events [9, 12, 18], poorer quality of life indices [18], pill burden [12, 15]. In a survey conducted in Australia, depression was associated with poorer quality of life in all eight quality of life dimensions (physical functioning, role limitations due to impaired physical health, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, role limitations due to impaired emotional health and mental health) in patients with diabetes [22].

Medical factors: Depression was most strongly associated with physical factors; functional impairment [9], greater waist circumference (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.04-1.64; P<0.001) [12], biological factors; glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) >8.5% [9, 21], body mass index 25.0–30.0 kg /m² or obese > 30.0 kg /m² [25], >35.0 kg /m²[1], fasting blood sugar [21], diabetic complications [18], retinopathy [42], neuropathy [9, 12, 25, 42], nephropathy (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.02- 3.21; P=0.041) [12, 42], peripheral vascular disease (OR 6.08, 95% CI 1.07-34.6; P=0.042) [12, 42], diabetic foot (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.06- 5.86; P<0.001) [12], coronary vascular disease [42], ischemic heart disease [41, 42], arteriosclerotic vascular disease [42], co-morbid disease [18]; greater anxiety [18], dysthymia [18], heart disease [21], diabetic treatment regimen; insulin or combined insulin [19], insulin or combined insulin and oral treatment [21], sexual dysfunction [42].

But on the contrary depression was not significantly associated with poor body weight, insulin treatment users, duration of diabetes, HbA1c > 8.5%, obesity (BMI > 30.0 kg /m²), co-morbidity (hypertension including duration), complications (retinopathy) [2, 21, 25, 38].

Barriers to diagnose co-morbid depression: One of the major challenges in measuring depression in Bangladesh is that no depression screening tools have previously been culturally standardized for the population [21].

According to Anna M. Acee, the barriers related to screening for depression in primary care setting include time constraints, difficulties assessing depression with concurrent symptoms of diabetes, clinicians’ deficient knowledge of depression diagnosis, patient factors surrounding labeling and cultural beliefs, and current trends in managed health care. Additionally, diagnosing depression in symptomatic persons with diabetes is challenging due to the overlap in physical (e.g., weight loss and fatigue) or cognitive (e.g., trouble concentrating) symptoms [32].

Generally depression was prevalent among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus where negative life event, poor social support, pill burden, previous depression affect, fear of complication and death, health care cost, age, sex, weight, waist circumference, educational status, marital status, income, smoking habit, physical activity, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level, diabetes treatment regimen, diabetes complication, and co-morbid disease other than depression are the major associated risk factors. The major challenges for diagnosis of depression that was identified are lack of depression screening tool and lack of knowledge.

Hence, the purpose of this study is to ensure whether depression is common in type 2 diabetic patients or not, thoroughly identifying responsible determinant factors and challenges for its diagnosis in Ethiopian context.


To identify factors associated with the risk of co-morbid depression among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. To explore factors affecting diagnosis of co-morbid depression among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.


Study area

Black Lion Hospital (Tikur Anbessa in Amharic), located in the nation’s capital Addis Ababa, is Ethiopia’s largest general public hospital and one of University Hospitals in the country. The hospital provides a tertiary level referral treatment and is open for 24 hours for emergency services. Black Lion hospital offers diagnosis and treatment for approximately 370,000- 400,000 patients a year [28].

There are different units and clinics that provide specialized service for clients. Among these diabetes clinics is one of which was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Giuseppe “Pino” Grimaldi (president of the international association of lions clubs) on Saturday 12th November 1994. In diabetes unit approximately 115 type 2 diabetic patients were seen weekly.

Study design

Institution based cross-sectional study design was used to assess associated factors of depression among type 2 diabetic outpatients.

Study period

The study was conducted from April 23, 2013 to May 13, 2013.

Source population

All type 2 diabetes out-patients on follow up treatment in diabetes clinic.

Study population

Type 2 diabetes out-patients who have follow up appointment during data collection period.

Sample Size determination

The actual sample size for the study was determined using the formula for single population proportion by assuming 5% marginal error (d), 95% confidence interval (alpha=0.05), and the proportion or prevalence of depression among type 2 diabetic patient was 34% (P=0.34) [21]. Based on the above information the total initial sample size was calculated by using the following formula;

ni= ( a 2 ) 2 pq d 2 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaaguart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqipCI8FfYJH8YrFfeuY=Hhbbf9v8qqaqFr0xc9pk0xbba9q8WqFfeaY=biLkVcLq=JHqpepeea0=as0Fb9pgeaYRXxe9vr0=vr0=vqpWqaaeaabiGaciaacaqabeaadaqaaqaaaOqaaiaab6gacaqGPbGaeyypa0ZaaSaaaeaacaGGOaGaaeOwaiaabccadaWcaaqaaiaadggaaeaacaaIYaaaaiaacMcadaahaaWcbeqaaiaaikdaaaGccaWGWbGaamyCaaqaaiaadsgadaahaaWcbeqaaiaaikdaaaaaaaaa@41F5@


ni= required initial sample size

Za/2 =critical value for normal distribution at 95% confidence interval which equals to 1.96 (Z value at alpha=0.05).

P= Proportion of success, that is the prevalence of depressive symptoms using the PHQ-9 (score =5) was 34% (26) [21].

q= Proportion of type 2 diabetic population not having comorbid depression.

d= marginal error (0.05).

ni= (1.96) 2 ×0.34×0.66 (0.05) 2 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaaguart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqipCI8FfYJH8YrFfeuY=Hhbbf9v8qqaqFr0xc9pk0xbba9q8WqFfeaY=biLkVcLq=JHqpepeea0=as0Fb9pgeaYRXxe9vr0=vr0=vqpWqaaeaabiGaciaacaqabeaadaqaaqaaaOqaaiaab6gacaqGPbGaeyypa0ZaaSaaaeaacaGGOaGaaGymaiaac6cacaaI5aGaaGOnaiaacMcadaahaaWcbeqaaiaaikdaaaGccqGHxdaTcaaIWaGaaiOlaiaaiodacaaI0aGaey41aqRaaGimaiaac6cacaaI2aGaaGOnaaqaaiaacIcacaaIWaGaaiOlaiaaicdacaaI1aGaaiykamaaCaaaleqabaGaaGOmaaaaaaaaaa@4D1E@

ni= 345

nf= ni 1+ ni N MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaaguart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqipCI8FfYJH8YrFfeuY=Hhbbf9v8qqaqFr0xc9pk0xbba9q8WqFfeaY=biLkVcLq=JHqpepeea0=as0Fb9pgeaYRXxe9vr0=vr0=vqpWqaaeaabiGaciaacaqabeaadaqaaqaaaOqaaiaab6gacaqGMbGaeyypa0ZaaSaaaeaacaqGUbGaaeyAaaqaaiaaigdacqGHRaWkdaWcaaqaaiaab6gacaqGPbaabaGaaeOtaaaaaaaaaa@3EEF@

Since the sampling was made from finite population (N<10, 1000), it needs finite population correction. Therefore;

nf= 345 1+ 345 920 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaaguart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqipCI8FfYJH8YrFfeuY=Hhbbf9v8qqaqFr0xc9pk0xbba9q8WqFfeaY=biLkVcLq=JHqpepeea0=as0Fb9pgeaYRXxe9vr0=vr0=vqpWqaaeaabiGaciaacaqabeaadaqaaqaaaOqaaiaab6gacaqGMbGaeyypa0ZaaSaaaeaacaaIZaGaaGinaiaaiwdaaeaacaaIXaGaey4kaSYaaSaaaeaacaaIZaGaaGinaiaaiwdaaeaacaaI5aGaaGOmaiaaicdaaaaaaaaa@4111@

Where nf was the final sample size, ni was the initial sample size determined using the formula, and N was the size of the source population. By considering 10% non-response rate, the total sample size was 276 type 2 diabetic outpatients. Those 276 samples were selected by using systematic random sampling techniques.

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Inclusion Criteria

Individuals was approached by the research team and invited to participate in the study that are;

Exclusion Criteria

Method of data collection

Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by using structured interviewer administered questionnaire. Demographic and health related information were collected from each participant and medical records using data abstraction form. In-depth interview was conducted to collect data regarding factors affecting diagnosis of comorbid depression. Patients with established type 2 diabetes mellitus were evaluated for depression by administering the nine-item PHQ-9 (Amharic version-local language). The PHQ-9 consists of nine items on a 4-point likert-type scale. Standard cut-off scores were used with the PHQ-9 to classify minimal (1–4), mild (5–9), moderate (10-14), moderately severe (15-19), severe (20-27) symptoms of depression. Since the questionnaire was prepared in English, it was translated in to Amharic language for appropriate and easiness in interviewing the study subjects in Amharic language. The Amharic version was again translated back to English to check the consistency of meaning. Translation of questionnaire was done by language experts in both cases.

Variable Specification

Dependent Variables

Independent Variables