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Aims: To describe the long-term trajectories of depression symptom severity in people with Type 2 diabetes, and to identify predictors and associates of these trajectories. Methods: A community-dwelling cohort of 1201 individuals with Type 2 diabetes from the Fremantle Diabetes Study Phase II was followed for 5 years. The nine-item version of the Patient Health Questionnaire was administered annually to assess depression symptoms, and biomedical and psychosocial measures were assessed at baseline and biennially. Latent class growth analysis was used to identify classes of depression severity trajectories and associated outcomes, and logistic regression models were used to determine predictors of class membership. Results: Three trajectories of depression symptoms were identified: continuously low depression symptoms (85.2%); gradually worsening symptoms that then began to improve (persistent depression – low-start; 7.3%); and gradually improving symptoms which later worsened (persistent depression – high-start; 7.5%). Younger age, being a woman, and a lifetime history of major depressive disorder, were associated with greater risk of persistent depression symptoms. Persistent depression was associated with consistently higher BMI over time, but not with changes in HbA1c or self-monitoring of blood glucose. Conclusions: A subset of individuals with Type 2 diabetes is at risk of depression symptoms that remain elevated over time. Younger, overweight individuals with a history of depression may benefit from early and intensive depression management and ongoing follow-up as part of routine Type 2 diabetes care.
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