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Transl Behav Med. 2019 Nov 25. pii: ibz171. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibz171. [Epub ahead of print]

A retrospective multisite examination of depression screening practices, scores, and correlates in pediatric diabetes care.

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Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Barbara Davis Diabetes Center, Aurora, CO, USA.
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA.
Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA.


Psychosocial guidelines recommend routine screening of depressive symptoms in adolescents and young adults (AYA) with diabetes. Best practices for screening in routine care and patient characteristics associated with depressive symptoms require further investigation. The purpose of this study was to examine psychometric properties of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2 and PHQ-9); document rates of depressive symptoms and related clinical actions; and evaluate associations with patient characteristics. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2 or PHQ-9) was administered at five pediatric academic medical centers with 2,138 youth with type 1 diabetes. Screening was part of routine clinical care; retrospective data from electronic health records were collected for the first screening date as well as 12 months prior. The PHQ demonstrated good psychometric properties. Evaluation of item-level PHQ-9 data identified 5.0% of AYA with at least moderate depressive symptoms who would not have been flagged for further screening using the PHQ-2 only. On the PHQ-9, 10.0% of AYA with type 1 diabetes endorsed elevated depressive symptoms and 7.0% endorsed thoughts of self-harm. Patients with moderate or greater depressive symptoms had a 43.9% documented referral rate for mental health treatment. Higher BMI, older age, public insurance, shorter diabetes duration, higher HbA1C, and a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) event in the past year were associated with depressive symptoms. The PHQ-9 identified AYA with elevated depressive symptoms that would not have been identified using the PHQ-2. Depressive symptoms were associated with negative diabetes indicators. To improve referral rates, standardized methods for provision and documentation of referrals are needed.


Depression; Diabetes; Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ); Pediatrics; Screening


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