Approximately 34 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. With this illness come substantial changes to psychological and physical health. However, type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects non-Hispanic Black compared with non-Hispanic White populations. The purpose of this study was to examine racial differences in psychological, behavioral, and physical health over time among individuals recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.


Data were collected from a community sample of 193 adults recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (44% female; 45% Black). Measures of distress, self-care behaviors, and HbA1c were taken at an initial interview (time 1) and 6 months later (time 2). Individuals wore an Actical accelerometer to assess physical activity and participated in three 24-h dietary recall interviews to assess dietary intake within 2 weeks of the initial interview.


From time 1 to time 2, Black women showed the highest increase in depressive symptoms. There was a greater increase in regimen and physician distress among White compared with Black participants. White men and Black women reported a decline in medication adherence over time. There were no racial differences in changes in physical activity across 6 months. However, Black individuals had higher overall calorie consumption with greater protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake than White individuals. There were no race or sex differences in changes in glycemic stability.


Initial adjustment to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes differentially influences Black and White men and women in terms of depressive symptoms, diabetes distress, and self-care.

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