University of Tasmania
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Depression symptoms in people with diabetes attending outpatient podiatry clinics for the treatment of foot ulcers

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posted on 2023-05-18, 05:47 authored by Sue-Anne PearsonSue-Anne Pearson, Nash, T, Ireland, V

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of depressive symptoms, diabetes self-management, and quality of life in people with diabetes and foot ulcers. Ulcer status, mortality and amputations were also assessed at six months follow-up.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of people attending outpatient podiatry clinics at a major tertiary referral hospital. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Diabetes self-care was assessed using the Summary of Diabetes Self Care Activities (SDSCA) measure. Health-related quality of life was measured using the physical component summary score (PCS) and the mental component summary score (MCS) of the SF-12.

Results: Of the 60 participants in the study 14 (23.3%) reported mild symptoms of depression (PHQ score 5-9) and 17 (28.3%) moderate to severe depressive symptoms (PHQ score > 9). Twenty-one (35%) met the criteria for previously recognized depression (on antidepressants and/or a diagnosis of depression in the last 12 months) and 17 (28.3%) for depression not previously recognized (PHQ > 4). Seventeen (28%) participants had been receiving antidepressant treatment for a median duration of 104 weeks (IQR 20, 494 weeks). Despite antidepressant treatment 12 participants (70.6% of those taking antidepressants) still reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms at the time of the study. Patients with PHQ scores > 4 reported poorer adherence to diabetes self-care activities including general diet, exercise, blood sugar monitoring and foot care when compared to those participants with PHQ scores < 5. No association was found between physical functioning (PCS) and depressive symptoms. Decreasing mental wellbeing (MCS) was associated with increasing depressive symptoms. At six months follow-up, there were three deaths and three amputations in participants with PHQ scores > 4 compared with no deaths and 2 amputations in participants with PHQ scores < 5. There was no association between depressive symptoms and ulcer healing or ulcer recurrence at the six-month follow-up.

Conclusions: This study found a high prevalence of depressive symptoms both recognized and unrecognized in people with diabetes and foot ulcers. Depressive symptoms were associated with overall poorer diabetes self-management and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). There was no association between depressive symptoms and ulcer outcomes at six-months follow-up.


Tasmanian Community Fund


Publication title

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research



Article number









Tasmanian School of Medicine


BioMed Central Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)

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