Six doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, USA, came together to form a research group. The primary goal of their research was to study the association of depression and diabetes with some risk factors, including smoking and obesity in adults in the following racial and ethnic groups: American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic African Americans, in Arizona. The research was based on the 2014-2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data and analyzed the connection between provider-diagnosed depression and diabetes, as well as several risk factors in each racial and ethnic group. The analysis of the data showed the association between depression and diabetes in all Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, and American Indians and Alaskan Native adults in Arizona. Also, the modification of the association of depression with diabetes for all the study participants influenced by their smoking status and overweight status was demonstrated in the research.
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The limitations of this study include:
- Lack of depression and diabetes diagnoses verification, as the diagnosed diabetes and depression status was self-reported. Thus, some participants may have misreported their diagnosis or its current status.
- Indetermined causality, since the designed study was cross-sectional, and the temporal association between depression, diabetes, and associated risk factors remains unclear.
- The small sample size in certain groups, causing some limitation of statistical power and the probability of falsely accepting the null hypothesis.
Researching the topic of association between diabetes and depression, it seems that there may be a certain gap concerning this association in children and adolescents. The majority of the studies on the topic is based on adult participants’ sample groups. In addition, the existing research papers have some limitations, as methods for treating diabetes and depression have been continuously developing and improving, therefore, the research on the topic requires constant updating accordingly. What is more, there is no comparative research analyzing the correlation between diabetes and depression in children and teenagers, and it remains unclear whether children’s psychological reactions differ significantly from those of adolescents.
Therefore, the research question is the following: What is the association between diabetes and depression in children, compared to teenagers?
In order to answer the question, it would be necessary to consider some independent and dependent variables. As far as the independent variables are concerned, they would include a number of factors, such as age, gender, the type of diabetes, and time since diagnosis. Also, the level of metabolic control may present an important variable for the research. These factors in combination can potentially influence the outcome, that is, the psychological well-being of a young patient.
The response which is examined in this study would concern the psychological state of the young diabetes patients. Thus, the dependent variable, in this case, would be the level of psychological well-being or distress, including anxiety, general psychological distress, or depression.
It is essential to take a number of confounding variables into account. The factors which might affect the psychological well-being of study participants would probably include their socioeconomic status and family background. Besides, teenagers may experience psychological distress when entering the puberty, which should also be regarded as a confounding variable. All in all, many important factors are to be carefully considered and analyzed when conducting research.
Sandoval-Rosario, M., Contreras, O. A., Mercado, C., Barbour, K. E., Cunningham, T. J., & Rosales, C. B. (2019). The association between depression and diabetes and associated risk factors by racial/ethnic status among adults in Arizona: Arizona Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014-2017. Diversity and Equality in Health and Care, 16(2), 22-29.