PURPOSE - The mechanism by which depression influences health outcomes in persons with diabetes is uncertain. The purpose of this study was to test whether depression is related to self-care behavior via social motivation and indirectly related to glycemic control via self-care behavior.
METHODS - Patients with diabetes were recruited from an outpatient clinic. Information gathered pertained to demographics, depression, and diabetes knowledge (information); diabetes fatalism (personal motivation); social support (social motivation); and diabetes self-care (behavior). Hemoglobin A1C values were extracted from the patient medical record. Structural equation models tested the predicted pathways.
RESULTS - Higher levels of depressive symptoms were significantly related to having less social support and decreased performance of diabetes self-care behavior. In addition, when depressive symptoms were included in the model, fatalistic attitudes were no longer associated with behavioral performance.
CONCLUSIONS - Among adults with diabetes, depression impedes the adoption of effective self-management behaviors (including physical activity, appropriate dietary behavior, foot care, and appropriate self-monitoring of blood glucose behavior) through a decrease in social motivation.