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Mental health status of individuals with diabetes in Korea before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: a comparison of data from the Korean national health and nutrition examination surveys of 2018-2019 and 2020-2021

BMJ Open. 2023 Oct 12;13(10):e074080. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-074080.


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to compare the mental health status of patients with diabetes before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and to determine the effect of COVID-19 on their mental health status. This study was the first to investigate the relationship between diabetes and mental health in the Korean population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DESIGN: This retrospective cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of mental health problems before (2018-2019) and during (2020-2021) the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with diabetes aged 40 years or older who participated in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Mental health problems were assessed using self-reported experiences of depression diagnosis, stress perception and suicide ideation. Depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Clinically significant depression requiring treatment was determined using an optimal cut-off score of 10 out of a total of 27 points.

PARTICIPANTS: There were 824 men and 763 women in the 2018-2019 survey and 882 men and 887 women in 2020-2021.

RESULTS: In the unadjusted analysis, women had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of suicide ideation in 2020-2021 (2.9, 95% CI: 1.5 to 4.2) than in 2018-2019 (1.0, 95% CI: 0.4 to 1.7, but p<0.0067). There was no statistically significant difference in both men and women in 2018-2019 after adjusting for age, education, economic activity, hypoglycaemic drug intake or insulin injection, current alcohol consumption, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia. A comparison of the results of the PHQ-9 survey conducted in 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 found no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of depressive disorder among both men and women.

CONCLUSIONS: Long-term, retrospective observations and studies on the effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of patients with diabetes should be conducted in the future.

PMID:37827739 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2023-074080

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