Similarity of depression in diabetic and psychiatric patients

P. J. Lustman, K. E. Freedland, R. M. Carney, B. A. Hong, R. E. Clouse

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Diabetic and psychiatric out-patients were studied to determine whether the symptom profile of depression was similar in medically ill and medically well subjects. The diagnosis of major depression was determined using psychiatric interviews and DSM-IIIR criteria. The 21-item Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to characterize the prevalence and severity of depression symptoms, and the measure was divided into cognitive (13 symptoms) and somatic (eight symptoms) subsets. Seventeen (81%) of 21 symptoms (including 12/13 cognitive and 5/8 somatic symptoms) were not statistically different in prevalence or severity between the depressed diabetic patients (N = 41) and the depressed psychiatric patients (N = 68). Both of these depressed groups were significantly different from a nondepressed diabetic comparison group (N = 58) in the prevalence and severity of every BDI symptom except weight loss. These data show that the symptom profile of depression in diabetic patients (in particular the cognitive symptoms) is similar to that in depressed psychiatric patients and is readily differentiated from the symptom profile in nondepressed diabetic patients. Our observations support the diagnostic validity of the DSM-IIIR criteria for major depression in this medically-ill outpatient sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-611
Number of pages10
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992


  • diabetes mellitus
  • major depressive disorder
  • psychiatric diagnosis


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