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Abstract

Aims

Depression and anxiety are relatively common in patients with diabetes, but it is unclear whether migrant patients with diabetes are at increased risk for emotional distress. We determined levels of emotional distress in patients with diabetes with a Turkish, Moroccan or Dutch ethnic background and compare distress levels with healthy control subjects. Among patients with diabetes, we examined demographic and clinical correlates of higher levels of emotional distress.

Methods

Cross-sectional data were collected within the framework of the population-based Amsterdam Health Monitor Survey. Adult participants were interviewed to assess demographics, presence of chronic disease(s) and ethnic background. Emotional distress was determined with the Kessler psychological distress scale. Blood was drawn to determine HbA1c, glucose, HDL and total cholesterol. Anthropometrics and blood pressure were assessed during a medical examination.

Results

The total sample comprised of 1736 participants. The prevalence of emotional distress was significantly higher in participants with diabetes (31%) compared with healthy participants (19%). Increased levels of emotional distress were reported by 38% of the Turkish, 35% of the native Dutch and 29% of the Moroccan patients with diabetes. Among patients with diabetes, the presence of two or more co-morbid chronic diseases was most strongly associated with higher levels of emotional distress, whereas glycaemic control, cholesterol, blood pressure or waist circumference were not.

Conclusions

Emotional distress affects approximately one third of adult patients with diabetes living in Amsterdam. Having multiple co-morbid diseases seems related to more emotional distress among these patients, while ethnicity and diabetes-related characteristics are not.