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Psychosomatics. 2017 Jul - Aug;58(4):364-374. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

Does Social Support Moderate the Association Among Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Functional Disability in Adults With Diabetes?

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Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:



Diabetes requires complex self-management routines to prevent the development of functional disability. Relative to people without diabetes, those with diabetes are more likely to have comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which also increase the likelihood of functional disability. Social support is associated with positive health outcomes in people with comorbid diabetes and mental disorders and may serve as a buffer against functional disability, though this possibility has yet to be examined.


This study examined whether social support moderates the association between MDD or GAD and functional disability in adults with diabetes. Adults with MDD or GAD were expected to report greater disability than those without MDD or GAD. This association was expected to be stronger in people reporting lower social support relative to those reporting higher social support.


Data came from the cross-sectional 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health (n = 1764). Diabetes status, social support, and functional disability were assessed via self-report; past-year MDD and GAD were assessed with structured diagnostic interviews.


Linear regression analyses, conducted separately for MDD and GAD, indicated main effects of past-year MDD and GAD, such that those with a mental disorder reported greater functional disability than those without a mental disorder. Social support did not moderate the associations between either MDD and functional disability or GAD and functional disability.


In this nationally representative population study, both MDD and GAD predicted greater functional disability in adults with diabetes. Social support, however, did not moderate these associations.


2012 Canadian Community Health Survey.; diabetes; functional disability; generalized anxiety disorder; major depression; social support

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