Does Mental Health Differ by Diabetes Status in Older Adult Females?




Flores, Amanda
Plec, Abigail
Vincent, Savannah
Hartos, Jessica


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Purpose. Research has assessed the relationship between specific mental health conditions and diabetes status, but not current mental health in specific demographic groups. The purpose of our study is to examine whether current mental health status differs by diabetes status in older adult females in the general population. Methods. This cross-sectional analysis used 2016 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for 65 to 75 year old females from Alabama (N=867), Kentucky (N=1356), Mississippi (N=668), and Texas (N=1714). We assessed the relationship between diabetes status and mental health using ordered logistic regression by state while controlling for weight status, the number of health conditions, access to health care, and demographic factors. Results. Across states, about one-fourth of participants reported low or moderate mental health in the last 30 days (22-31%), and a being diagnosed with diabetes (23-26%). The results of adjusted analysis indicated that mental health status and diabetes status were not significantly related in any state; however, mental health was inversely related to number of health conditions in all four states. Conclusion. Overall, current mental health status was not related to diabetes status in older adult females. However, mental health was consistently and inversely related to number of health conditions. Practitioners should not automatically screen for mental health issues in all 65-75 year old females based on diabetes status. However, practitioners should screen for mental health issues in patients with multiple health conditions, as well as screen for other health conditions in patients with mental health issues. Based on screening results, patients may need to be referred to psychiatry or other specialties after determining severity and management of their conditions.